Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Stuffed Peppers - 1

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


Mother’s Day roses


Our wet backyard

Weekly Review


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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. 🙂


WIP Thursday


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.


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

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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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.


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”.

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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!

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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! 🙂



Week in Review

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“Wascana Creek” – ready for finishing.

This week was a mixed bag.

  • I finished hooking Wascana Creek, as you can see. 🙂
  • I renewed my domain and transferred it to WordPress.
  • I upgraded my blog so you should see no ads now.
  • I received notice from my accountant’s assistant that she was not entirely happy with the way I filled out the T2125 Business Statement for this year.  She wants me to re-enter my expenses and income in three separate forms she provided.  I am not happy.  This should have been given to me at the beginning of the year, not the end.  I spent a lot of time since Wednesday, when I received the email, on that.  I have better things to do this time of year.  This is time consuming detailed work.

Aside from all that,

  • I’ve hosted company this week,
  • been to see the CP Christmas Train,
  • took part in a church Christmas potluck,
  • attended a potluck for a group of ladies I used to stitch with,
  • and engaged in watching Christmas movies to de-stress…I love ’em!


A Busy Day!

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Raspberry Yogurt Kuchen in Anne Lindsay’s “Everyday Lighthearted Cookbook”.

Company leaving this morning.  Potluck today.  And carol singing this evening.  In-between I’ll be doing laundry.

I am hoping to pull a few loops on Wascana Creek.  I am soooo  close to being finished the hooking.

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thankful for all the things I have that I take for granted.  We are so fortunate in the West.  We have no real idea what it is to do without the basic necessities of life.  But sometimes we can get an inkling of an idea from people who have traveled to Third World countries and places far from home.

Earlier this year that happened to me.  I met a lady who was involved with a group of nurses who go to Africa once a year to do basic health education and medical support for doctors.

In the course of their travels, Canadian Nurses for Africa came upon a strange phenomenon.  Girls were missing school one week of every month and they couldn’t figure out why.  Some girls reached puberty and simply stopped going to school.  On inquiring they discovered the problem was their menses.  They had no sanitary napkins and were using grasses and corn husks, confining themselves to their huts for the duration of their monthly period.

The group of women I was with listened to the story of hundreds of African women lining up, ostensibly for health education and immunization shots, which they got, but in reality leaving with their freedom – a small drawstring bag of washable cloth sanitary napkins.

The nurses going to Africa were overwhelmed with the demand.  The group I am with started planning, designing, and sewing prototypes.  After settling on a design we started sewing the two part sanitary napkin from a pattern put out by Days for Girls.  I’ve spent some time this week and last working on them.

Each one takes 10 minutes to sew, 15 minutes if you count cutting them out.  We set it up factory style and cut about 50 the first 2-3 hours.  Each woman gets three napkins and a holder for free.  My time is a small price to pay to give a girl on the other side of the world her freedom.  I can’t speak highly enough about the great work these nurses are doing in Africa.  I continue to bless them with open hands and open hearts, and with the work of my hands.

Inventory already?

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Hubby informed me today that he took some cards from my greeting cards to use for Christmas cards.  He wanted to know how much he had to pay me for them.  I was going to tell him to take them and I’ll just call them personal use.  But he took quite a few, and I’m out-of-pocket personally for the amount.  So he’s going to pay me.

But that all led to the question of how many cards we’ve been using for personal use.  So I took a quick inventory today and discovered not as many as I thought.  I will double check against how many were originally printed tomorrow.

Today was a busy day with appointments and Christmas planning.  We did another grocery run tonight.

I also spent time working on sewing reusable sanitary napkins for African women which are delivered by Canadian Nurses for Africa.  But more on that tomorrow… 🙂