Saskatoon Pie

Saskatoon pie


For those of you who don’t know what saskatoons are, they are kind of like blueberries, but not so sweet. They are native to the Canadian prairies. Here we can only buy them at Farmer’s Markets, or pick your own at U-Picks or in the wild.

People protect their own private picking patch with great secrecy. You know you’re one of the family when you are invited to pick saskatoons with them in their private patch!

Here is the Saskatoon Pie recipe that works best for me…

Saskatoon Pie

pastry for a double crust pie
4 – 5 c. saskatoons
¾ c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. butter
¼ c. water

Cook water and saskatoons in saucepan on stove for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir. Stir flour and sugar together. Add to saskatoons. Stir well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter. Cover with pastry, poking holes to let steam escape. Bake in oven at 400 F for 15 minutes, and then 350 F for 30 minutes, or till golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

In My Studio…


Blogging 101 has finished.  So this week I’m hoping to work more on…

  • my plein air studio wall hanging, The Barn,
  • the Cellular Blanket I’m knitting,
  • the Granddaughter’s Needle Box, and
  • my portfolio.

Hubby and I went shopping this past weekend to pick up more of Alene’s Tacky Glue for the needle box.  While out we picked up some ink for the printer.  I’m all set for the week!


Weekly Review

The Barn 3

This week centred on starting the hooking for The Barn.  I’ve made a start, but am not happy with the fence. There may be later changes there.

Knit baby blanket 1

I also decided to focus in on knitting the Cellular Blanket, a baby blanket pattern from a library book.

Needle box 7

Plus I worked more on Granddaughter’s Needle Box.  I figure I’m about half finished I need to rustle up some clothes pins for makeshift clamps.

I started in on some oval Hardanger Christmas ornaments I found tucked away in a box in a cupboard.

I took some time to update my business books and visit the bank.

I did work a bit on my portfolio, but, as noted yesterday, we need more ink for the printer.

I also found out about an upcoming show in March and April, and quickly sent in my application to take part.

I took part in Blogging 101 and am nearing the end of the course. Hopefully the changes have improved the look of the blog.

That’s my review for this week.  No spinning…yet. 🙂

WIP Thursday…

The Barn 2

What’s on the go this week?  I’ve been having fun playing with different ideas and working on different projects.

  • The Barn is started and the actual barn is mostly hooked,
  • I continued knitting the baby blanket.  I tried stitch markers for the lace pattern, but it did not work due to the nature of the pattern.  So I am back to doing without.

Hardanger oval christmas ornaments

  • I went through my Hardanger box to file everything away on shelves, and came across a couple of kits, one already started.  Both are for Christmas ornaments. I decided to work on the one that was already started.  It has some nice cotton, linen, and metallic thread oval ornaments decorated with beads.

Needle box 4

  • I am still working on the Granddaughter’s Needle Box.  It requires a lot of gluing and I spend time waiting for it to dry.  By the time it’s dry I’m onto another project!  I am not going to have enough glue to finish this.  I’m thinking I may need to make a trip to Walmart to pick some up.

Planning Journals

  • See these lovely notebooks?  Aside from being inspiration themselves, I use them to help organize my days.  These have been in use since 2009, when I first read David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  I use David Allen’s ideas to keep me on task and productive.  Why are they in a WIP post?  Because I updated them. 🙂
  • Work on my portfolio has halted because we are running out of ink.  Need to buy new colour ink cartridges for our printer.
  • I haven’t even looked at my spinning yet.  Maybe this weekend.

Well that’s my works in progress everyone.  Hope everyone has a great day! 🙂

Inspiration Wednesday

Inspiration doesn’t only come from photos for me.  It also comes from other bloggers…and they don’t have to be rug hooking blogs either.  Here are a few blogs and blog posts I’ve been inspired by lately.

Elizabeth Barton’s Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon

Danny Gregory’s blog by the same name.

If you’re a knitter like I am as well, check out for free videos on how to knit.

Anna Hergert’s Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Katie and Dori Hobbies Up To Here

If you are a stitcher or needlewoman, Sharon Boggins has a blog, Pintangle, with lots of inspiration and ideas.

And for a good change of pace I love to follow this blog out of the border country in Great Britain.

Cranberry Oat Scones

Cranberry Oat Scones

I found this recipe on the Internet and promptly modified it to be a bit more healthy. Warning: I am not in favour of the super sweet scones they sell at coffee houses. Mine are more representative of the true Scottish scone, with just a touch of sweetness.

I will continue to modify this recipe when I bake it. Maybe swap out some regular flour for gluten free four… If you don’t have yogurt, use milk.  You can also swap out half of the oil for unsweetened applesauce.

Cranberry Oat Scones

1 ¾ c. white flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1/2 c. canola oil
¾ c. old fashioned rolled oats
½ c. cranberries
zest of one lemon
¾ c. yogurt

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in oil. Add oats, cranberries and lemon zest. Add yogurt and stir till mixed well. Turn out on board and knead 5 -10 times. Roll out to 1” thick circle. Cut in eighths. Put on pan to bake for 15-18 min. in 375 F oven.

Learning Style

“What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?”

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years discovering my, my Hubby’s, and my children’s learning styles.  I’m a visual learner who also learns by doing and one-on-one.  Hubby learns through reading.  Not surprisingly, we have one of each when it comes to our girls.

I use learning style theory when I develop my courses to teach new rug hookers.  Children are given the hoop and hook right away, and fibre to play with.  They instinctively love the feel of something different in their hands.

Adults seem to need an introduction…well some of them do.  Those ones that prefer lectures and reading perhaps.  When I teach a class I prepare handouts for the readers, talking for the auditory learners, and I waste no time putting fibre, hook and hoop in hand for the tactile learners in the crowd.  By catering to different and multiple learning styles in the group there is a greater chance of retention and a faster pace of learning.

I also provide a list of resources that includes websites, YouTube videos, links to sites that have online courses, and good ol’ books. That way learning can continue once my students leave my class.

My beginner classes are two hours long in which you learn to hook a 6″ square star mat or wall hanging.  If you’re in the area or visiting, and interested in a beginner traditional rug hooking class, email me at

In My Studio…

The barn wool

Colour planning “The Barn”…no yarn yet, but I’m getting there!

I spent Friday afternoon colour planning The Barn.  This week I will start hooking it.  I have also decided I need to pick up the pace on a few other things.  Less computer time and more crafting time is needed.  So, aside from The Barn, I plan on…

  • working on my porfolio,
  • spinning some fibre,
  • knitting the baby blanket,
  • working on Blogging 101. Don’t be surprised if you see extra posts popping up this week. 🙂

And look what I started yesterday.  A gigantic needle box!  I have a lot of needles to capture in one space.  Hopefully this will help when completed.

Have a great day everyone!

Weekly Review


Hardanger Bell Pull – a modification of the EAC (Embroiderer’s Association of Canada) Intermediate Hardanger course.

In keeping with the list theme, you notice you see a lot of lists on this blog.  I find them easier to navigate and scan as a reader, and very concise as an author.  This week I accomplished a few things to put on my “Done” list.

  • I finished my Hardanger bell pull,
  • I finished, I mean totally finished, Wascana Creek,
  • I did the finishing on Wascana Creek – Study, the original plein air piece for Wascana Creek,
  • I worked on updating my portfolio, and
  • I continued with my Blogging 101 course.

Today I will continue with my portfolio and color planning The Barn.

Planning next week soon.

Wascana Creek and study

“Wascana Creek” and its plein air piece “Wascana Creek – Study”.



I am told people are either List Makers or they aren’t.  I am a List Maker.  Primarily because I have such a poor memory.  Lists help me stay focused and on task.  I am not married to my lists however.  I am very distractible.  Just ask my Hubby!  But lists help keep me centered and coming back to what’s important to me.

How did I come by using lists?  Well of course there was school…lists of homework and “To Do” lists.  But that didn’t really give me my list addiction I have now.

I guess it started as a young mom with all the distractibility that comes with that job.  I made lists so I wouldn’t forget things.  I was so tired some days I couldn’t remember what day it was or where I was supposed to be.  Hubby was a young manager trying to figure out his place in the career world and I was a stay-at-home mom.  I tried working for a while after we had children, but it did not work for our family and I ended up being a permanent stay-at-home mom.

I received good-natured ribbing from my friends about being a stay-at-home mom.  I can assure you, stay-at-home moms do more than sit at home and eat bonbons!  It would have been nice if I had the time to make bonbons.  But even if I had that time, I can guarantee the girls would have been into them before I had a chance to sit down and enjoy them!  (I’m thinking of a particular experience with homemade marshmallows here.)

But lists?  They came to my rescue.  Menu planning, to do lists, children’s activities to plan and list on calendars…

Maybe that’s where it started.  The calendars.  I had a real hard time remembering who was supposed to be where and when.  I found this lovely Polestar Family Planner calendar that I used for years…until the girls grew up and left home.  Now I use their Business Planner calendar that combines home and work.

But the calendar didn’t give me a master list to work from.  I found my life overly busy and scattered into different areas with no headway being made in any one area.  I decided I needed to organize my life.  How?

I read a lot on time management.  I looked at different areas of my life and organized each one with one, five, and ten year goals.

Ah!  There you have it.  The genesis of my lists.  All those goals!  Totally unrelated to each other.  Totally unrealistic…well most of them were.  But there they were in black and white.

Following the goals was breaking them into lists of steps to complete.  Hmm…

Then I was reading about bucket lists.  And watched the movie “The Bucket List”.  Another list of unrealistic things to do.  Hmm…  I think I have a bucket list around here somewhere to dust off.  I decided bucket lists are best for the young, the healthy, or the wealthy…at least mine was.

Then I read the book Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber.  Suddenly my 20 wishes list appeared.  I actually still do one of these every year.  They aren’t big wishes.  They are aimed at helping me create a balanced life for myself.  I have wishes or goals in all areas of my life: spiritual, work, home, family, personal, etc.  These, too, are broken down into steps to be worked on week by week or month by month.

Oh, and then there was David Allen’s Getting Things Done, with its action lists, to do lists, etc.

And when I’m burnt out on doing things on my lists?  Well I just consult my Artist’s Date list (courtesy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) or my nurturing list for some relaxing activities to do.

I found a blog the other day that used a list of things to do that make you happy, as a pick-me-up, especially for those suffering from clinical depression.   Taming the Black Dog is about clinical depression.  This new blog author shares her experiences suffering with the illness.  I wouldn’t normally go searching out blogs on depression, but it was part of an assignment in Blogging 101 that sent me this blogger’s way, and I’m glad I landed there.  Her experiences give me valuable insight so I can understand my clinically depressed friends and relatives better.  Not only that, but finding her and Blogging 101 have encouraged me to make another list…of blogs that are very different from my own to follow and read.

I have just a slight addiction to lists.  And when I get tired of looking at my lists in a vertical format, why I just make a mind map (courtesy of Tony Buzan The Ultimate Book of Mind Maps) with all my list elements on it!

Course, sometimes I just play hooky, like now, and don’t do anything on my list…but blog about lists!


WIP Thursday

My current rug hooking WIP is The Barn.  Colour planning is the objective for today.  It could be a challenge that sees me hanging about the kitchen over dye pots again.  We’ll see.  I’m trying very hard to use up what fibre I already have…and I have a lot.

The Barn is a slightly larger pattern than Wascana Creek.  It has similar elements and started out as a plein air piece also.  It will be interesting to see this develop into a larger piece.

I will also be working on updating my hooking portfolio.  I have let it get sadly out of date.

My non-hooking project for the time being is the knit baby blanket.  I tend to put it aside until I know I have an hour to work on it, because it takes that long to knit a full repeat of the pattern.  I’m a slow knitter.  It is a lace pattern that also requires concentration, so I prefer to do it when I’m alone.

That’s my plan for today.

What’s everyone else up to out there in Internet land?

Inspiration Wednesday

It’s not that I don’t have a lot to do.  I really do!  And when I look around my home and start pulling out all the half finished projects and projects to do around the house, or making a list of them, or…well…in this case, photographing them, I find it’s inspiration to get on and finish a few of them.

If you didn’t guess it, last week’s Inspiration Wednesday theme was Warmth.  Can you guess today’s?   I gave it away above.  It’s my “To Do” list of projects.  All except my rug hooking…of which I have sketchbooks full of ideas.  Should keep me out of trouble for a while. 🙂

I hope everyone has a busy and productive day.  I know I will! 🙂


A baby blanket


The hanging sleeve


A Korean applique quilt pattern.


Plein air “Wascana Creek – Study”.


Yarn!  It’s emptier than it was!  The rest I’ve already either used, given away, or sold.



Spinning fibre


An Irish chain quilt.


A sweater


Goldwork embroidery


A gorgeous Needle Box.




Crewel embroidery


Needlepoint cushion

Gram’s Chocolate Cookies

chocolate cookies

Gram’s Chocolate Cookies


1/4 c. shortening (we used butter)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together well. Add:

1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1/2 c. milk.

1 egg

Mix. Sift:
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Add flour and cream of tartar to batter and mix thoroughly.

Optionally add 1/3 c. nuts. We used slivered almonds.

Place by teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheet about 2″ apart. Bake at 350 F for approximately 10 minutes.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.  ENJOY!

In My Studio

Hardanger Bellpull 1

This week in my studio I am…

  • busy organizing my receipts from last year to file away for any future use.
  • finishing the hardanger bellpull.
  • sewing a hanging sleeve on Wascana Creek.
  • start to hook The Barn.

The barn pattern 1

I am also considering work on a laptop case and a footstool cover.  My footstool cover is sprouting holes.


I have the laptop case drawn on linen backing, but haven’t started hooking it.  I am not happy with the actual design of the case itself.  I need to do some zipper shopping online and off to see if I can find what I need for it.  Local selection is limited.

I am also looking at more sewing.  I have everything I need for a camera case except some foam padding.  Hmm…

Lots to keep me busy the next while!


2015 Creative Work

Today’s inspiration is from my own work.  Here is an overview of some of the work I created in 2015.  Hoping for another productive year in 2016! 🙂

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Week in Review

Hi all.  Christmas is coming down.  The New Year has definitely begun!  This is the first Week in Review for the year.  I have to admit to not accomplishing a lot of rug hooking.  However I did manage a few things related to my business…

  • Finished hooking Wascana Creek,
  • Hemmed Wascana Creek,
  • Attached a label to Wascana Creek,
  • Figured out my PST (provincial sales tax) owed to the government and dropped it off,
  • Catching up on business related reading,
  • Started the Blogging 101 course put on by WordPress.

Blogging 101 is very informative.  It is taking a lot of my time, but that is okay.  I am learning a lot and enjoying playing around with WordPress.  Plus the community here is great!  So varied and helpful.

See you next week! 🙂

WIP Thursday


“Wascana Creek” – 22.5″ x 16″ – $345 CAD

WIP is crafter lingo for Works in Progress, otherwise known as UFOs, or UnFinished Objects.  🙂

Today’s WIP is none other than Wascana Creek!

I am technically finished, as the photo above shows.  What I need to do is sew a hanging sleeve on the back to insert a dowel to hang the wall hanging from.

Part of my dallying has been around deciding which hanging system to use – the hook and loop tape or the hanging sleeve. Both have their merits.  It’s a question of whether the wall hanging is heavy enough it would bend the dowel that goes through the hanging sleeve system.  I think, over time, it would bend a 1/4″ dowel, my standard dowel size.  I am going to try a wider diameter dowel.


Hanging sleeves attached to the back of wall hangings, awaiting 1/4″ dowels to be inserted for hanging from cup hooks.


Hook and loop hanging system.  Hook attached to shellacked oak and loop attached to the wall hanging backing.

The hook and loop system is failproof.  The loop side is attached to the back of the wall hanging.  While the hook side is attached to a piece of oak trim that has been shellacked.  I put holes at either end of the oak board and screw it to the wall through those holes.  Then just pop the wall hanging up on the board.  Very sturdy.  This system can handle a lot of weight.  I have come to the realization that my larger rugs are definitely on the heavy side.

Whenever I speak to patrons about the two systems they invariably prefer the hanging sleeve system because they view it as not damaging the wall as much as the hook and loop system, and as being easier to install.  I can’t blame them.  My Hubby feels the same way.  But if you want to prevent sag in a large heavy hooked wall hanging, you really need to use the hook and loop system.  Plus have some reinforcing done on the back of the wall hanging.

Next up?  My unfinished project for the remainder of the week is a Hardanger bell pull I started many years ago and never finished.  It has a very small section of stitches to fill in to complete.  I am hoping to complete it in short order.





Tabbouleh is a great recipe to start the year!  It’s great for those on a gluten free diet, or otherwise.  It just plain tastes yummy!  I prefer to set aside time to make it a day before eating it.

As with all things with stevia in them, it tastes better after sitting overnight.  If you want to avoid that, just use sugar instead of stevia in the dressing recipe. 🙂

This recipe serves 6-8 people, depending how hungry they are and what it’s paired with.  We usually have several salads for a salad meal – a green leafy salad, a tuna waldorf salad, and tabbouleh.


1c. quinoa
1/2 c. finely diced carrots
1/2 c. dried currants
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1/2 c. finely chopped parsley/cilantro, OR 3 Tbsp. dried parsley
2/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced or use a garlic press
1/16 tsp. stevia extract powder (or 1 tsp. sugar)
1/8 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cloves
¼ tsp sea salt

Cook 1 c. dried quinoa in 2 c. water for 10 minutes, until white ring appears around the grains. Drain. Let cool. Chop vegetables and put in a medium sized bowl. Add the cool quinoa.

Use a jar to combine all the dressing ingredients. Shake till well mixed. Pour over salad and toss everything. Let sit a few hours before eating. Tastes better the second day.

Enjoy! 🙂

And so it begins…

Last Import - 1 of 4 Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!  I know I did.  New Year’s Eve we held an impromptu party and had fun getting to know people and playing word games…and eating. 🙂

For those of you new to the blog, let me introduce myself…

I am Jean Ottosen, a fibre artist working in the medium of traditional rug hooking.  I am a folk artist hooking with primarily silk and wool fibres on primitive linen backing.  I sell my work in shops and exhibit across North America.  I work out of my home studio located in beautiful Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I blog to motivate myself to finish projects, and inspire myself to create new work.  I hope it inspires my readers too.  I look for inspiration around me and post photos to inspire others.  My motto is “Seek – Create – Inspire”.

Last Import - 4 of 4

I also blog to share the daily life of an artist with my readers.

And, I blog about food, because what’s a good hook-in with friends without food?!  Recipes appear not only on this blog, but can be found indexed and linked on the page “Recipes”.

Since Christmas I have been busy working up plans for this new year. Things will change a bit on the blog. Well, really it’s more a formalizing of what I’ve already been doing. Here is some of what you’ll see…

  • a Monday post on my plans for the week,
  • recipe posted once a week,
  • inspirational photo(s) once a week,
  • WIPs (works in progress) not only in rug hooking, but also in other crafting areas,
  • a Friday post summarizing what was accomplished this week.
  • there will be no posts on Saturday and Sunday.

I hope you like the changes and, if there is anything you’d like to see on my blog, either leave a comment below or email me at

Thank-you for following my blog and “liking” my posts. 🙂

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Nativity Scene

The first set of company arrives today folks.

We will receive our second set of company in the afternoon sometime on Christmas Day and will open our gifts after they arrive. 🙂

Saturday we will be receiving the third set of company, who will be staying overnight.

After that, we’ll see what develops.  I plan on taking some time for some R&R and to regroup for the new year. 🙂

Bearing that in mind, today will be the last post until Jan. 4th folks.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Merry Christmas


Happy New Year!



I’m ready ahead of time!

Last Import - 1 of 1

Quiche Lorraine – “Joy of Cooking” 1975 edition. I use gluten-free pastry dough and make individual servings in muffin tins.

I managed to get everything on my Christmas list done yesterday.  I’m all set for Christmas now.  Just need to remember to take things out of the freezer ahead of time. 🙂

On today’s agenda?

  • press and hem Wascana Creek,
  • sew on a hanging sleeve,
  • label and price it.

Perhaps not all that today.  I also need to do laundry before company arrives tomorrow.

Have a great day everyone! 🙂


Ooops!  Looks like plans have been derailed.  Company coming for lunch and the afternoon today.  Wascana Creek will have to wait till after Christmas now. 🙂




Tackle it Tuesday

Lots of fun today.   Company coming this evening.  I get to bake and cook!  I also need to do some serious picking up around here.

I finished up my business statement!  And pressed Wascana Creek.  I think I’m going to need to fill in some holes.  Sometimes when I hook with yarn it’s difficult to see the spots that need a few more loops.  It’s best to look at the work from the back and see if I have any big bare spaces of backing.  That’s a clue the front needs a bit of work yet.  Though I have to be careful not to pack too tightly around yarn, as it likes to “bloom” or expand when hooked, and looks best when given the room to do so.





The plans for this week:

  1. press and hem Wascana Creek,
  2. sew on a hanging sleeve,
  3. label and price it.
  4. work on business spreadsheets.  Close to being finished! 🙂
  5. If I have time, sew more sanitary napkins for women in Africa. 🙂
  6. get ready for Christmas!
  • clean fridge
  • pick up sunroom studio
  • pick up dining room
  • make grocery list
  • final grocery shop!
  • bake quiche and freeze
  • make hummus and store in fridge

And…Celebrate Christmas! 🙂