Inspiration Wednesday Fizzled

rainy-day

It’s a cold, rainy day today.  No photos fresh from the camera…at least no outdoor ones.  This is the view from my front window.  Sorry folks.

Today has been “phone the insurance brokers and talk insurance day”.  I’ve made appointments for further conversations with them, with Hubby present.  We had some tentative plans for this evening, but I don’t think it’s going to work.  Going to have to cancel.   I also have company today and a cleaning lady.  It’s going to be a bit busy.  If I get a chance to hook on African Dream I’ll be surprised…and very happy.

I think I’m going to break with my usual blog routine for a while here.  We’re just so busy preparing for Hubby’s retirement the end of the month that I cannot even guarantee a daily blog post, let alone one that follows my prescribed plan for the  year.  I trust everyone will understand.  I’ll be back a little later.

 

Spinach Salad

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Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

1 lb. spinach
1/3 c. sliced almonds, toasted
2 c. firm strawberries, sliced

Dressing:
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 c. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. water
1 small scoop (1/32nd tsp.) stevia extract powder (a pinch) OR 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 green onion, minced

Clean spinach and snap off stems and save for soup. Tear leaves in smaller pieces for salad. Toss first three ingredients. Shake dressing ingredients in a jar and pour over salad.

In my studio…

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Hi everyone!  Another day has dawned.  Well, kind of.  It’s a soggy, wet day here on the prairies.  I’m entertaining company and perhaps working on more decluttering in my sewing room.  I am currently organizing 16 years of scrapbook memorabilia.

I did work more on African Dream on Friday.  I have just a bit to finish off and then I hope to do the blocking and hemming by the end of the week.

This is another busy week.  Hubby and I are still neck deep in preparing for retirement.  He comes home in two weeks for good.  It will be an adjustment.

We currently have family visiting.  I have friends arriving Wednesday for a visit.  We will be picking up another friend from the airport Thursday.  It will be a busy week for people, but I enjoy it.

There won’t be much time for starting a new project, but there should be time to finish African Dream.  I’ll keep you posted on it and the sewing/craft room reorganization. 🙂

 

 

 

Weekly Review

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Well I did settle down some yesterday and finish the yellow and red band in African Dream.  But to be truthful, I was busy with a friend and generally taking a break.

I did get up in my sewing/craft room and sort through some files.  I made piles for recycle, shred, and “move to another location”.  Some of it shouldn’t have been in my sewing room.

This week wasn’t a stellar week for rug hooking, but it was for re-organization.  I figure I cleared off 12 linear feet of the storage unit in the sewing/craft room.  This weekend we’ll be hauling stuff to local charities.

I’ve been chatting with people who think I should keep that storage unit and not replace it with cabinets with doors.  I’m thinking.  It’s a big heavy clunker that separates between the top and the base.  But it’s 8′ long and very difficult to get around the turn in the stairs at the bottom and the tight corner of the landing at the top of the stairs.  Hubby has decided it’s coming out in pieces if it has to be moved.

Hope everyone has a great day and weekend.  We celebrate every Friday with pizza night.  Looking forward to a simple meal to prepare tonight…frozen pizzas. 🙂

WIP Thursday?

Well I haven’t pull a single loop on African Dream.  Or knit a single stitch on the Cellular Baby Blanket.  But I’ve been working like crazy in the sewing/craft room re-organizing and consolidating and tossing things.  Here’s today’s results…so far…

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There used to be two of these units, but I consolidated into one.

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A friend pulled the yarn down off the top of the cabinet.  I moved goods from mismatched containers into the Martha Stewart bins.

 

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I moved the serger thread from a large hard to handle bin to two smaller ones.  Here they are with the bin of stabilizers.

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I cleaned up the pegboard a bit.  Still some more to go.

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I removed the painting supplies from the top of the cabinet and put them inside. Now my circular knit needles are up there.

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I put the paint brushes back on the low scrapbook cabinets because they are easier to get in and out of the container.

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The bookcase still needs work. The tall scrapbook cabinet looks better with less on top.

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Some of the empty storage containers to leave the room.

Weekly Review

Good morning everyone!  It’s been a busy week here.  I’ve had company since Tuesday.  They leave Sunday.  It’s been fun showing them around and doing things with them.  I love sharing our city with visitors!

I’ve started two more online Gale courses: one in communications and one in building a website with a shopping cart.  So far so good.

I managed some hooking on African Dream, but not a lot. I do have the strips cut for most of the finishing though.  Actually, I’m still pulling heavily from my pile of leftover worms from other projects.

A friend broke her foot and today I am going to be cooking some meals for her and her hubby.

I have a long list of things to do today, so I better get at it!  Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

In my studio…

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Back at African Dream this week.

And knitting on the baby blanket.

Lots of rain coming down this weekend.  This summer in fact.  I will be very surprised if we grow decent tomatoes.  Often they have Blossom End Rot when it’s wet like this.  It’s been so wet, in fact, that we haven’t been able to get fertilizer on the pots.  They just haven’t dried out enough between showers.  Hubby is going to check the bottoms and make sure the drainage holes aren’t plugged.  I’m thinking it’s just all the rain.

Hope everyone has a great week! 🙂

 

In My Studio…

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I finished my online Gale courses in communication and teaching writing: K-3 with flying colors on Friday.  They were fun courses to take to shake up my brain again and bring out the appropriate knowledge for teaching.  I think I’ll take a few more of these courses in the future.

I haven’t done a lick of work on African Dream or my g-mail account this weekend.  A true weekend off!  I was at a meeting on growth principles, and helping prepare food, serve it, and clean up for the church’s graduation luncheon.  By Sunday afternoon, when it was all over, I was wiped and took a good long nap!  Spent some time weeding the yard/garden.

This week’s plans definitely include African Dream and sorting through email.  I’m not sure what else I’ll do.  Depending on the weather I may spin a bit or do some plein air hooking in the backyard.  I’m feeling a bit of a need for a change.  Maybe some dyeing.

Friday is Canada Day and we are hosting a small gathering of friends.  So some time will be spent planning and preparing for that.  I’m looking forward to a week with a relatively clean slate.

Ice-cream Sundae Toppings

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These three recipes come from long ago.  The Caramel Sauce was originally used to pour over a Blueberry Cake, which I’ll probably post another day.  It tastes just as good over Blueberry Muffins or ice-cream. 🙂

The Chocolate Sauce came from a cookbook of an old boyfriend’s mother.  He watched a football game with friends, while I made crepes, stuffed with pears, and topped them with this delicious chocolate sauce.  It also goes great on ice-cream and sliced bananas, with toast sliced almonds sprinkled on top. 🙂

The Blueberry Sauce recipe is derived from a magazine article somewhere in the deep dark past of the ’80s or ’90s…I think.  We use this on pancakes, waffles, ice-cream, and crepes filled with ice-cream or custard.  It is delicious!

Enjoy!

Caramel Sauce

1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. water
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt the butter and add everything else. Bring to boil and simmer till thickened.

Chocolate Sauce

1 tbsp. shortening
3 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. quality cocoa powder
3/4 c. boiling water
2 tbsp. golden corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt butter and shortening on low heat in saucepan.  Add cocoa powder and stir till dissolved.  Add boiling water and corn syrup.  Stir.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a small bowl.  Then add to the liquid in the saucepan.  Stir and turn up to high to boil, stirring frequently.

Once boiling, reduce heat and boil 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Blueberry Sauce

1/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. boiling water
1 c. frozen wild blueberries
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. almond flavoring

Combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Add hot water in a stream, stirring.  Add lemon juice and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring.  Add blueberries and simmer 2-5 minutes or until thick.  Remove pan from heat and add butter and almond flavoring.

In my studio…

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I had a great time at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair.  I met many friends, neighbors, and new people.  I demonstrated to a lot of people.  However some rain later in the day dampened spirits a bit.  My canopy roof decided it had enough and one of the supports broke.  I will definitely need a new canopy if I do anymore outdoor sales.

Back to my regular work week this week.  I am taking time today to do some planning for the rest of the summer.

I am hoping this week to hook some more on a scrappy floor rug.  Yes, you heard that correctly!  I am hooking my first floor rug in years.  Because of that I’m sticking to silk and wool fibres.  I am just not sure how well the others will clean up if it gets dirty. My plan is to put it in my bedroom…if I don’t chicken out and hang it on the wall.   People wear outdoor shoes indoors in my house, and that, plus the dirt it tracks in, is hard on rugs.

I will also be working more on sorting through my email.  It is multiplying on its own!

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

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Hi all!  This is a recipe we had this past weekend that was modified considerably from the Internet version found on Food.com.  For those of you who don’t know, Food.com is a great resource for free recipes on the Web.

For this recipe I swapped out white rice for brown rice and increased the cooking time for the rice/meat mixture.  Plus I used diced tomatoes and herbs for the diced tomatoes, just to add a little more seasoning.  I also grated about 6 oz. of cheddar cheese so I had some to pile on top of the sweet peppers as a melted topping, as well as the 4 oz. to mix into the rice/meat mixture.

We served these with medium salsa and fat free sour cream.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! 🙂

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

6 large green peppers
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can (16 oz.) diced tomatoes with herbs
1/2 c. long grain brown rice
1 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
dash pepper (opt.)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 c.)

Cut tops off peppers.  Save tops and discard insides.  Finely chop top edges until you have about 1/4 c. green pepper.  Set aside and discard rest of tops (or use for something else).

Place the emptied out peppers in a pot of boiling water to cover.  Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  Drain upside down.

Brown ground beef.  Add onions and saute with the 1/4 c. finely chopped green pepper.  Drain off fat.  Add diced tomatoes, brown rice, water, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and dash of pepper.

Cover and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until rice is tender.  Stir in 1 c. (4 oz.) grated cheese.  Fill peppers.  Top with grated cheese.

Place in a 2″ x 9″ x 13″ dish and cover with aluminum foil (or place in a deep covered baking dish).  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and serve.

Inspiration Wednesday

I had a lovely Mother’s Day on Sunday, complete with the first BBQ of the season. Hubby manned the grill, while a friend and I made the rest of supper inside – Caesar Salad, hamburgers, pan fried onions and mushrooms, and Strawberry Shortcake.

Today it is rainy and overcast…just like yesterday…and the day before…  It is good for the land.  We badly need it.  However I did not get my patio garden planted beforehand.  We’ll see how long it takes to dry out and clean up to prepare for sowing.  Hopefully we can plant it next week.

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Mother’s Day roses

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Our wet backyard

Weekly Review

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Well I did accomplish more on Dancing Tree.  But I am not saying when I will complete it anymore!  I have about half of the sky to hook, and then there’s the blocking and finishing.

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I also knit an extra couple of inches on the cellular baby blanket.

This week I’ve been adjusting to having a new boarder in the house. He is very congenial, but has a wonky schedule.  I provide supper for him, and his schedule is making it difficult to find time to cook and eat, what with everything else we do.

I have also been doing a bit of extra tutoring, which looks like a permanent side gig till the end of the school year.  I enjoy the little tykes.  They have personality and they are not afraid of saying what’s on their minds.  However I do have to attend to shopping for supplies as we are mostly doing project based learning.  And that is taking a fair bit more time than I anticipated.  We are currently meeting three times a week.

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I’ve prepared the rug hooking lesson for the two boys.  A big shout out to Karen Miller for giving me an idea on how to approach it in an affordable way.   We went to Michaels craft store and picked up the supplies.  I hope this will work for the boys.

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And tonight is pizza night at our place!  The boys are staying for supper with their mom and making pizza from their own pizza cookbook. 🙂

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 🙂

 

In my Studio…

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Our new boarder from China moved in on the weekend.  Today, without warning, he gave his mother an iPad FaceTime tour of our place, including my studio.  I was appalled!  My studio is in its usual state of disarray.  He said he wanted to show him mother what I used to make my work. Moral of story = always leave my studio picked up at the end of the day.  Sigh.

It’s been a busy weekend.  No rug hooking to speak of.  Lots of tutoring though.  And lots of errands.  Hubby is in great angst about whether to retire this year or next, when he turns 65.  He spent yesterday crunching numbers and the evening talking to me about his results.  I told him to do what he wants.  He’s put in over 30 years supporting the family.  I think that’s enough.

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So, back on track this week.  I sorted out the tax mess last week.  So it’s back to rug hooking this week.  I’ll be working on Dancing Tree.

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I removed my work from Traditions Hand Craft Gallery a couple weeks ago, due to a change in commission structure.  So I have all that inventory to reintegrate into my system at home and prepare to post on Etsy.  Ideally I would like it posted by mid-June.  But it’s a lot of prep work as there are close to thirty pieces to add to my Etsy shop.

And I’ll be starting to think about my booth display for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair the last Saturday of May.

Oh, plus two days tutoring.  A busy week for me.

Weekly Review

Well this week didn’t exactly turn out as planned.  I spent a lot of time on tax stuff.  My email has been acting up.  So I ended up making more phone calls than I’d like.  But it’s done now.  It’s solved.

Also spent time planning and preparing for our new boarder to move in, including two or three grocery shopping trips different places and times.  Normally I do one run a week.  But this week I renewed my Costco membership and did a serious shop there.

I also spent time preparing for my tutoring sessions this week.  I’ve signed up for a free class to brush up on teaching K-3 kids.  I have not done it in a while and feel I could use a refresher course.  It starts mid-May.  However I have access to some of the resources now, and have been reading them.

I also have hooked a bit on Dancing Tree, but have not hooked as much as I would have liked.

And I have not knit a stitch on the Cellular Baby Blanket.

I have been doing a lot of future planning this week.  For some reason spring is when I like to do my planning, not the New Year.  Hopefully next week I’ll get on track again.

 

 

WIP Thursday

Easter dinner Min bd b

Well the story is this folks, I have not knit a stitch on the cellular baby blanket in two weeks.  What gives?  Well, I was a little busy preparing for and getting through the Easter holiday weekend.  Doing what?

  • celebrating two birthdays,
  • visiting with friends,
  • phoning family,
  • hooking a wall hanging,
  • buying a car (yes…it’s red!),
  • tutoring two young boys.
  • reading Online Marketing for your Craft Business by Hilary Pullen.

I find the tutoring requires some prep work for me, especially as I sold or gave away all my education material just this winter.  Thankfully the mother is not only paying me, but also covering the cost of materials.  Makes it a lot easier for me.  Still, I’ve had to do some serious shopping – online and off.

Hopefully this week I’ll find time to get back to the baby blanket.

Weekly Review

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Well, once again “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.   We are arranging to have another boarder in the house.  As a result there’s been a few distractions. We’ve been doing some last minute cleaning out of the basement, where they will be staying, and still have more to do.

However I did manage to prepare my work for the Art Gallery of Regina 40th Salon Show.  Will be dropping that off tomorrow.

Plus I’ve worked more on Sprouts.   I’m close enough to finishing that I am contemplating my next piece.

 

WIP Thursday

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Still knitting away on the cellular baby blanket.

Also cutting strips for Sprouts.  Finally sitting down at my frame today.

I must admit I’ve been sidetracked getting rid of excess in our home.  And helping Hubby with preparing the basement bath for a new boarder.  I also had a brief talk to give to my church ladies group.  Plus I had fun with company on the weekend.  It only took me two days to recuperate. 🙂

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WIP Thursday

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I’ve knit a bit more (about four rows) on the Cellular Baby Blanket.  Wish I could remember which knitting book that pattern is from!  It had lots of neat patterns to knit out of cotton for babies and toddlers.

I couldn’t sleep one night.  All my other projects were downstairs, so I cracked open the rhododendron needlepoint kit from Dimensions and decided to start it.  Well, I taped the edges. I organized the yarns last night, or tried to.  The last needlepoint I did was over 35 years ago.  I think I’ll have to look at the colours in daylight to make sure I have them in the correct spot.  From what I can see, one colour is missing in the kit.  But I have lots of leftover yarn from a friend that will probably have something that will work.

Well I’ve been working hard on The Barn and will report on it in a separate post tomorrow.  Other than that, though, I haven’t done much else.

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Weekly Review

 

I finished it!  The Granddaughter’s Needle Box and Thimble Box are finished.  I’m spending some time gathering needles and thimbles from all over this house to put in here.  Here’s hoping there’s enough room!

Other activities this week?

The Barn is well underway.  The more I hook around the fence, the more I like it.  It shows the scale of The Barn, which is really a stable turned picnic shelter. 🙂

I’ve been busy transferring my blog posts for the last 3 1/2 years to Open Office to edit formatting and print.  I’m keeping a hard copy in binders.

I’ve also been applying to sales and exhibits.  I’ve been accepted at one sale – the Cathedral Village Arts Festival Street Fair – and have yet to hear from another.

I’ve also been negotiating with the shops that sell my work.  Prices are $60 for my 6″ square wall hangings and $25 for Christmas ornaments.  Other, larger works, are priced at $150/sq. ft. which is mid-range for this type of work.

I’ve been arranging classes as well.  If anyone is interested in classes in February, I hold them on Saturdays from 1:30 – 3:30 PM.  They are $50 for a teaching fee, and $75 for materials, if you need a hoop and hook, backing and fibre.  The fee will be adjusted if you bring your own supplies.

I have two classes I teach currently: a Beginner Class, and a Curves Class.  The Beginner Class is a simple 6″ square star that familiarizes the student with technique, tools, and fibre types.  The Curves Class teaches circles, backgrounds, and lettering using a floral design.  Both are one day classes.

Today will be busy with more hooking on The Barn, and creating and editing more files for my blog.  I need to buy more paper for the printer Saturday. 🙂

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 jo6865@gmail.com