My Favorite Herbs To Grow

easy herbs to grow, herbs to grow in pots, full sun herbs

Watercolor Herb Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art.

I LOVE to cook with fresh herbs! My first herb was a pot of garlic chive that I got shortly after my husband and I moved in together almost 6 years ago. I have saved the seeds and planted and replanted and thought it died so many times but every single year it comes back stronger than ever! It started out in a tiny pot and now it’s in a HUGE pot on our porch. It grows so fast that we can’t keep up with eating it all! But I will say it was my gateway herb. Since then I’ve planted so much more.

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Since the deer in our neighborhood are assholes persistent, we can’t plant anything edible in our yard, so I keep my herbs in pots. Here is a list of my favorite herbs to grow in your garden to up your recipe game and how I like to use them.

Garlic Chive -Also called Chinese chives or jiǔ cài.  I like to sautée them with garlic and a little butter for a simple side dish, sprinkle on eggs, or mix into ground meat.

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Chive – Very good for blood flow. My daughter and I both have high platelets so we put some chives on our eggs every morning and sometimes she eats a small blade while we harvest.

ParsleyDonut loves it, and the kiddo loves to feed it to him. It saves his breath, for a minute, haha! I also love chopped parsley on salads, pastas and pretty much anything that could use a little freshness!

 

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Oregano– Chop up and add to pasta sauce, obvs. I also like to make an easy “pernil style” pork dish. Just chop up some oregano and garlic, mix with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Rub all over some pork chops and grill!

 

Dill – Great with fish! Brush fish with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh dill chopped. Bake, and squeeze lemon on top afterwards. You can also make a delicious yogurt sauce with plain yogurt, dill, salt, pepper, garlic and chopped cucumber.

 

Rosemary – PERFECT with pork. Sprinkle pork chops with salt  and rub with chopped rosemary leaves. Leave for awhile and then cook as usual. Add more chopped rosemary leaves after cooking. Make your own sausage too! I like Alton Brown’s recipe for homemade sausage.

 

Basil – Sautéed with spinach and garlic makes for a great side dish. Also toss with chopped tomatoes, diced mozzarella and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a yummy caprese salad.

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Sage – Kiddo loves these. Fry the leaves up in some butter till crispy for a yummy little chip. Kiddo loves these in the morning.

Scallions – Great to sprinkle in salad, toss with roasted potatoes and of course in omelets.

 

Thyme – Can add to beef with some chopped red peppers, garlic and red onions to make a middle eastern style meatball. Eat with dill and yogurt sauce.

The BEST part about all the herbs listed above is that they all thrive in FULL SUN, so just leave them there. No need to calculate how many hours of sun vs. shade or any of that other complicated stuff. I water when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry, and that’s it!

 

You COULD start these from seed (which I used to do but with a rambunctious toddler running around and a second on the way, it’s not gonna happen for awhile) but the last few seasons I’ve bought my herbs from local herb purveyors. If you do start from seed, I highly recommend Hudson Valley Seed Company! They have wonderful heirloom varieties and are certified organic!

What are your favorite herbs to cook with? What recipes do you like to use?

 

Exploring Another Love…

I am an official art school drop out.

And I can’t go back and get my degree because the school I went to went out of business, but not before I managed to complete one out of two required years. Oh but that year was grueling. So many sleepless nights and that was the year I gave up coffee. Really. THAT was the year. I think I still have the mark from when my forehead slammed on my keyboard when I fell asleep in class. My schedule was crazy back then. Full time school, part time work, rehearsing for a show, AND in a relationship. It’s no wonder that halfway through that year I got SO SICK that my voice disappeared. I remember laying on the couch feeling so miserable and tired that I thought to myself…if I died right now at least I’d get some sleep.

Anyway, I have always loved digital art. My dad had an old Amiga computer and I made my very first campaign posters in 5th grade on it when I ran for Chief of Safeties (I lost). I can’t even remember the name of the program, but it was so fun making those signs. That dream collapsed after that first year in college, but like drawing, I’m slowly finding my way back to all the things I used to love. And I finally decided to put that half year of art school to good use and try to get some of that investment back by putting some artwork on Etsy! I’ll continue to add more as time goes on. Gotta put the random thoughts and colors swirling around in my head somewhere, right?

 

Looking for a gift idea? What about a Superhero Kids Portrait!

© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

What if you could make your child into a superhero?

If you’re looking for a gift for a great kid in your life, look no further! What about a customized superhero kids portrait of your favorite kiddos? Every kid wants to be a superhero! I know I did. My superhero power would definitely include flight, super strength and the ability to talk to animals. That would make me Wonder Woman. (keep that in mind for the future).

This past holiday season, I wanted to get my in-laws and my parents an amazing and unique gift – I wanted to give them portraits of all the kids in our family but dressed as comic book superheroes! As an artist, ideally I wanted to draw it myself, but as the mother of a rambunctious toddler WHO WILL NOT SIT DOWN EVER WHILE AWAKE, I knew I wouldn’t have the time. I (technically) could draw it myself, but as the comic book style isn’t my strength, it would take a long time for me to get it right. The smart thing to do would be to commission an artist who specializes in that style. So I commissioned my super talented cousin, Sonya Henar to draw our kids portrait! By the way, not only is she a stellar artist, but she’s also a fantastic singer.

Check this out. Isn’t this the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?!

SUPERHERO KIDS PORTRAIT!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

She even drew the DOG!!! BFFS for life, right?

Here is an example of a group superhero kids portrait of my nephews. Sonya can even draw your whole family if you asked her to!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

Everyone loved them. Each superhero kid got their own personal picture to frame and put in their room, too! Check out more of Sonya’s work at www.sonyahenar.com and order a commission at her custom artwork site. I’m so proud of her. I like to pretend to think I taught her everything she knows, but I didn’t. That’s all her.

 

Mommy-Daughter Day at Dia:Beacon

Dia:Beacon
The little one making mischief at Dia:Beacon!

My daughter and I took advantage of this weekend’s FREE event at Dia:Beacon. This weekend was part of Dia’s Community Free Days which includes free admission for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester County residents on quarterly basis. The last time I went there was before I got married, so I was hoping to see some new stuff.

Yeesh, I forget how BIG this place is. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but believe me, it’s huge!

Kiddo loved it!

There was a lot of room for her to run around. I made sure she only ran free in areas where the artwork was out of her reach. She had her eye on one particular sculpture (made of discarded metal) and she was DETERMINED to climb it. Luckily, I got to her before she could touch it.

I will have to say, that I maintain my stance on blank canvases as “art.” Not sorry. Not art. Piles of glass? Not art. Garbage. Holy crap, I was cursing under my breath because I just cannot reconcile that as art. There are two or three rooms of blank canvases up next to galleries of giant metal sculptures and down the hall is a whole room of geometric pencil drawings drawn right on the wall!! Blank canvases (canvases painted white, whatever) are not the same. Watch me take a dump on the floor and call it art. Same amount of effort. I blame Duchamp and his love for toilet humor.

However, I did enjoy most of the work displayed!

There were some pieces I loved, like The Hanged Man by Bruce Nauman (NSFW). I thought it was hilarious! Maybe the not the message the artist was trying to put forth, but humor is what I got.

Dan Flavin’s untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection), 1973 was also one of my favorites. My daughter actually enjoyed his the best because they were all lit up!

Sol LeWitt remains my favorite artist displayed at Dia:Beacon because you know some WORK went into his pieces. My daughter pointed at one particular installation which was red, yellow and blue and started shouting, “Color! Color!” Even she appreciated it, and she’s only 18.5 months old!

Later, we finished up with lunch in the museum cafe, which is an extension of Homespun Foods, one of Beacon’s most popular cafes – SUPER delicious, and not your standard museum cafeteria food.

Anyway, even with my loathing towards conceptual art, Dia:Beacon is still a wonderful place to visit and get your culture on. The Dia Art Foundation has several locations and affiliates in the US and internationally. Check them out!

Pet Portraits!

Last week I decided to start commissioning pet portraits again! I’ve missed drawing and I love to draw animals most of all. Seeing as my dog Donut has over 1600 friends on Instagram, I decided to let him spread the word. He’s unemployed, after all, so he can do a little to help his mama out. 😉

I got a couple of commissions right away, both Yorkies! Now, I ADORE Yorkies. I’ve always wanted one, myself. In high school, I did a report on Yorkshire terriers. Somehow one has always eluded me, but maybe we will have one in our family, someday.

Anyway, here are the two darling Yorkies I had the pleasure of drawing last week!

Pet Portraits by Yvonne de Salle
Instagram @girlsyxx
Pet Portraits by Yvonne de Salle
Instagram @lil_yuki_big_world

My process involves sketching the outline in pencil, layering in the colors with crayon and pastels, and then adding in the details on top. If necessary, I do a little bit of clean up on Photoshop.

For your own portrait, contact me through Fiverr! Starting at $5.00!

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

Here it is! My first DIY! For this adjustable leather cord bracelet DIY, I was inspired by the sack full of “orphan beads” I have in my stash. An orphan bead is a bead left over from a project or string that wasn’t used. And as any good DIYer knows, you NEVER throw anything away! I also had a bunch of colorful wooden beads that I used for these bracelets but now there aren’t enough of ONE color to complete a project. I thought to myself, what can I do to build these beads a home? Answer: Make an Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet!! Trust me, when you learn how to make these, you will be hooked! It’s a nice way to use up those leftover orphan beads!

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

First, gather your materials. You will need some colorful beads (wood, glass, acrylic – your choice), some metal spacer beads, leather cord (I used 2mm) and various “orphan beads.” Make sure that your bead holes are large enough for the cord to fit through. You will also need scissors and possibly a bead reamer to expand the bead hole if needed. Cut a length of cord about 15 inches long, depending on the size of your wrist. I have fairly small wrists, and this length of cord provides enough that I can work with it easily, and have it fit as snug or loose as I want.  If you are unsure, feel free to cut a longer piece of cord.

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

Next, string your beads. For this bracelet, I like to use as many beads as will fit across the top of my wrist. If you use too many beads, then you will not have as much room for adjustment when the bracelet is finished. Use any pattern or color scheme you like! Usually, I string the flashy orphan bead first, and add the rest on either side. I pull colors from the orphan bead to keep the piece color coordinated. Of course, you can string any pattern (or no pattern!) that you like. Possible center beads could be something like this or one of these.

Next, you will make a sliding knot. Start by taking the left cord and loop it into a circle around the OTHER cord.

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

Loop it again the same way so that there are two loops encircling the cord.

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

Cross the end of the cord to the left, and insert it through the loops to the right.

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

Pull to tighten. Try not to pull too tight, or the knot won’t slide. Next, flip the bracelet over, and make another sliding knot! Snip off the excess leather cord and you are done!

Adjustable Leather Cord Bracelet DIY

Pretty awesome, right? Go ahead and make one! I guarantee you won’t be able to stop! Let me know how it goes!