We are busy having great fun with our company. We spent Thanksgiving Monday exploring Halifax and area. We walked the pier in DeWolf Park in Bedford. Then headed to Saint Mary’s University. Then to Point Pleasant Park.
Tuesday we had a lot of errands to run.
Wednesday we headed up to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia to spend some time relaxing at a friend’s cottage by the Bay of Fundy. It rained while we were there, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm. We had a great time exploring beaches and walking in the rain. We also played games and put together a puzzle
I also spent time this week updating my business books and preparing for Workshop Week 3. I have only one class during Workshop Week 3 this fall, and that is a design class with Susan Feller. I am very excited to be taking another class with Susan. I learn so much from her. I sent her photos of what I want to work on next and some of my preliminary sketches. She was prompt and articulate in her responses. I am looking forward to this class.
If you have been, thanks for reading. I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Hi everyone! It’s been a busy week! I am preparing for our Canadian Korean friend to visit for Thanksgiving. We are having a mixed Thanksgiving dinner – both Canadian and Korean food. I’ve been busy preparing ahead of time. I made trips to various Korean grocers today, and serious cooking starts tomorrow.
Aside from that, my greeting cards have been taking back seat due to an unexpected opportunity falling into my lap. I will not say much now, but I did spend a lot of time arranging for decent photos of some work. The photographer was here this week to do the job. I also rewrote my bio for this opportunity.
Aside from the above, I have been busy cooking and baking this week. I baked a double batch of Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins, lots of 2-bite Brownies, a couple of Lemon Tea Loaves, a triple batch of whole wheat dinner rolls, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Granola. My freezer is full!
I also caved and learned to make yogurt in my Instant Pot. I started with a gallon of reconstituted skim milk and ended up with two litres of yogurt and two litres of whey after straining it. I used half the whey in my dinner roll recipe and, boy, did they turn out light and fluffy! I’m plotting how to use the rest of the whey. I hear you can freeze it for later use.
Good afternoon everyone! It’s been a busy week, what with being the end of one month and the beginning of another. The usual banking and shopping happened. The grocery shopping was a bit more complex this time. Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend and I wanted to buy some food ingredients early.
We also have company of the Asian persuasion arriving for Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving roughly coincides with the Korean Chuseok Festival. I love cooking, and I love a lot of Asian food. So I’ve been busy exploring the local Korean grocery stores in search of ingredients for my meals. There isn’t much I’m afraid. But maybe I just haven’t found the right store…
Yesterday I spent making three different kimchi recipes of varying heat. I also made the spicy pickled radish (daanmooji).
Today I’ve switched gears. I’m thoroughly into North American cooking. I made unsweetened applesauce to freeze for baking, I have vegetable stock simmering on the stove. Plus I am in the process of making Apple Peel and Core Jelly. I use local apples and wash them all ahead of time with a produce wash from Norwex to get off any chemicals or coatings.
I think I am going to need to take a break from rug hooking until fall harvest is finished. There is simply too much going on here. I’m loving it though. It’s nice to have a full larder. I do have an abundance of tomatoes still. I think I’ll roast some and store them in the freezer. They take up less space that way.
As you can see, my mind is not on rug hooking these days! If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a great weekend everyone!
I’m back at it again! I am finished the main part of the field in “Doom”. I’m about one quarter done.
I had the opportunity to hook on it during Beth Miller’s Parris House Thursday Zoom Hook-in yesterday. If you’re interested in joining the hook-in and are on Facebook, do a Facebook search for the group and ask to join. Beth is very encouraging and always looking for new members.
This week, after returning home from the bicycle trip, was rest and relaxation time. We were able to put the house mostly in order again.
I ordered more greeting cards for the shop – some old designs and some new ones. I am also ordering from a Canadian company this time. I’m hoping they turn out okay. They should arrive in early October. When they do, I’ll write a blog post featuring them.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend everyone!
Hi everyone! No rug hooking this week…I’ve been making up for lost time in my new kitchen! What have I been making?
cooking red kidney beans from dried,
cooking chickpeas from dried,
cooking black beans from dried,
baking johnnycake (aka cornbread),
baking 2 loaves of French bread,
baking a triple batch of whole wheat dinner rolls,
making a triple batch of whole wheat tortillas,
baking granola bars,
making Nanaimo bars, and
making Raw Energy Balls.
I am attempting to provide healthy snacks for Hubby for his bicycle rides. Though, I admit, the Nanaimo bars are just because they’re his favourite. I used the recipe on the City of Nanaimo website .
My treat for you is my Raw Energy Ball recipe. There are many versions of this floating around the Internet. This is the version we use.
Raw Energy Balls
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp. Ground cardamon (optional)
1/4 cup raw almond butter
unsweetened shredded coconut
Grind almonds until finely ground to meal in a food processor. Add everything BUT the coconut. Process until just smooth enough to shape, but not runny. Squeeze into 1” diameter balls. Roll in coconut. Let sit in fridge to cool and firm up before serving.
As you can tell, it has been a busy week in the kitchen. This weekend we have company arriving. I may or may not post on Monday. Lots happening!
If you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend everyone!
This week I settled down and finally finished hooking “The Weave”. It is one of my children’s poetry series. I have two more of that series to hook and then I’m done! I am actually reconsidering the remaining two pieces. I’m not sure one of them can be hooked. The design is too detailed for the medium of rug hooking.
In kitchen news…the plumber came and installed the sink, taps and dishwasher. He also fixed our hot water line problem. Apparently there was a valve issue affecting the hot water flow.
Today the electricians come to install the lights and pull out the wire for the range hood. They may have to extend the wire for the range hood. We’ll see.
I’m still waiting for the range hood to be installed. We won’t get a quote for that until Tuesday. We were going to have the kitchen installer do it, but the part we need to go through the wall isn’t available in local stores. The electrician who was here said it normally comes with the range hood. It didn’t. I hear the HVAC guys have it though. So, if they can provide it in a reasonable time frame at a reasonable price, the job is theirs.
I am looking forward to getting my kitchen back. Almost there! It might be time to start moving items back in there. Maybe this weekend.
If you have been, thanks for reading! Be safe and have a great Labour Day weekend everyone!
Kitchen renovation update: The flooring is in, the wrong dishwasher was returned, and the new one arrived. I sold the old kitchen cabinets. I gave the dishwasher to our kitchen installer and we recycled our old broken microwave. I also sold the old stove – the last of the old kitchen. Installer measured new cabinets to be sure there was room for everything in the kitchen. There is. Fridge might be a tad small. We’ll see.
Turns out the guy who laid our flooring has a construction company. They renovate bathrooms. We need a shower in our basement bath. That will mean digging up the floor for new plumbing, removing the ceiling and walls to rerun electrical wires and enlarge the bathroom. We have tentatively decided to spring for it…depending on the quote
The contractor and plumber are available, but a quality shower stall is not. We would have a shower stall professionally tiled. We want the bath done by the end of the first week of October. Company arrives soon after.
If we go ahead with the bathroom renovation, next week Hubby and I will be on the road buying supplies for the job. We’ll leave the contractor to deal with caulk and grout. He seems to know what kind he wants.
In rug hooking, nothing has happened. I’m definitely taking an extended break to get these renovations done in time. As soon as the kitchen is finished we have to put stuff back in it. Then we have to clear stuff out of the way in the basement, so the contractor can knock a hole in the wall of my studio to enlarge the bathroom to make room for a vanity. I think we’ll be busy!
If you have been, thanks for reading. Hopefully by Monday evening my kitchen will be finished and I can post some after photos for you to see.
Most people get sidetracked by summer fun this time of year. Me? I’m sidetracked by a kitchen renovation and food processing and storage for the coming fall and winter.
Yesterday I was in the basement rearranging the freezers and taking inventory. I actually started the inventory process in the cupboards on Wednesday. I admit, I’m a bit of an organizing freak. I like to know what I have and how much. Then I can plan to use it up.
I used to draw up a menu plan and follow it religiously. Not anymore! I make the menu plan and pick and choose meals from it depending on how I feel and my time constraints that particular day. It is a lot more relaxing that way.
In kitchen renovation news…the cabinets are half built. The installer will take over the kitchen on the 21st and remove the old kitchen. Hubby will sand and paint. The flooring guy will come do his thing. Then the installer comes back. Then we have to call in a plumber to connect the sink and dishwasher. BUT none of the hookups can happen until we buy and receive appliances! Rumour has it appliances are hard to acquire right now. We’re off today to check.
In rug hooking news…I’m almost done hooking “The Weave”! I figure I have another three to four hours of hooking. Then the finishing. I’m guessing, with everything else going on, it will be a couple of weeks yet. I’m looking forward to “The Bubble”.
If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a good weekend everyone!
Yay! I had some time to prepare a couple of hooked pieces for the wall. I created and attached labels and hanging sleeves to “Time” and “Autumn”. They are ready to hang!
I started reading ”Making a Life” by Deanne Fitzpatrick the other day. It is a great little read with lots of wonderful photography of her work. I think it’s her most readable book yet. It’s interesting how, over the years, you can see a writer’s skill progress. This is true of other authors as well as Deanne. In this book Deanne writes about her life as an artist the past twenty-five years. She talks about her initial views on art and artists, and how she grew into thinking of herself as an artist and being an artist. A lovely read.
This week was productive. “Gyeongju “ is finished and up on the wall! “Time” is also finished. I have to put hanging sleeves on it and “Autumn”. My serger is back from having maintenance done on it, so I’m good to go!
I’m checking my Someday/Maybe list and crossing these projects off. Time to decide what’s next. I’m tempted to work on “The Weave”. Or maybe “Where are we Going?”. Or “The Bubble”. Or something totally different.
Some people have a shortage of ideas to hook. I’m not one of them! I have sketchbooks full of ideas. I think I’ll pick smallish projects I can carry with me this summer – projects I can work on out on the deck, or at the cottage, or at my sisters’.
I have three smallish to medium sized poetry pieces on backing left to complete. I will pick one and colour plan it. I’m narrowing things down this weekend…hoping to have made a decision by Monday.
I have been busy since Covid began. Enjoy this slide show of some of my finished work.
Good morning everyone! I’m right in the middle of International Nature Journalling Week put on by Bethan Burton and friends. It’s quite good. It’s free, but there has been a request for donations. It’s seven days long with two sessions per day. I’ll have to miss a couple of sessions due to previous commitments, but overall I’ll be able to get the flavour of the week.
In other news, we spent the week in the yard. It’s been the first decent week of weather for planting since last spring. I took advantage of the situation. All our seedlings are in the ground, and a good deal of seeds.
I’m having incredible luck with growing from seeds down here! Everything seems to grow! I gave a third of my tomato plants to one friend, and another third to another friend. Same with pepper and oregano plants. I still had twelve tomato plants of three different varieties to plant! I had six or seven pepper plants of three different varieties. Plus, leeks, onions, peas, Swiss chard, kale, two kinds of beets, radishes, lettuce, squash, zucchini, cucumber, turnip, carrots, and much more.
My pots and raised beds are going to be overflowing. We had too many tomato plants, so we planted them and the remaining marigolds in the perennial bed. We’ll see how they do in the part shade.
The weather has been gorgeous, for the most part. I’m spending a fair bit of time on the deck, relaxing. When I’m not pulling weeds. We have a severe goutweed problem here. So we’re busy dealing with that. We back onto a Municipal green space that has become infested. It’s spreading into our flower beds.
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend everyone!
This week was a week of moving forward on various projects.
I finished spinning an alpaca fibre I acquired from a lady out in Regina, Saskatchewan many years ago (thank-you Sharon!). It’s a beautiful soft yarn, and I haven’t processed it yet! This yarn will be used for knitting.
In the process of cleaning up my studio last week I found my old doll. It’s over 50 years old! It needs new clothes. I believe the last time I sewed for her was in the 1980s, and it was just a pajama top and panties set. This time she’s going to sport a coordinating sailor dress, panties and bonnet in various patterns of hot pink! The sewing pattern is decided and cut. Today I plan to do some sewing.
In the rug hooking arena I dyed more purple wool fabric to finish hooking the border on “Gyeongju”. I figure I have 6-8 hours of hooking left to do. Then it’s onto blocking and hemming the edges. I have to decide what kind of hanging system to use with it. It’s a pretty heavy piece, so I may take the time to make a full museum quality hanging system.
What’s that? You ask?
Well, I take a strip of thin wood (check out the trim section of your lumber store), cut it to length, and shellac it. Then I staple hook and loop tape to it – the hook side. I sew the loop side to the top of the rug. I drill a couple of holes either end of the trim…right through the hook and loop tape. I screw it to the wall where I want to hang the piece, making sure it’s level. Then I just push the loop part of the tape onto the hook part, making fine adjustments as I go to make sure the rug is hanging level.
It is a time consuming way to hang a rug, and is not cheap. But it’s the best system I’ve seen for big heavy rugs like mine in the long run.
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend everyone!
Hi everyone! This past week has been a busy week spent trying to get my studio in order. It was much worse than I thought! We had initially bought furniture to fit the space as measured by a laser measure. Well the laser measure was wrong – it was out by 1-2 feet. So I had furniture positioned at right angles going into the room. But this week I took another look. I measured the room again and drew up an “as is” plan.
Then I took some photos to post online for some of my friends and see what could be done. Here’s the job half done on Wednesday.
I posted a video for some online friends to give input on the situation and decided to measure up furniture to see what could be done.
In the end Hubby came down and moved some boxes of scrapbook memorabilia and old journals upstairs for me to sort through later. I still have wall hangings I’d like to hang on the wall, mending to do, a project box to sort, and a doll to dress! But first I have to sew her clothes! Here is a video of where I’m currently at with the studio.
It’s been a busy week for me. In between rug hooking, yard cleanup, sewing and gardening, there’s also been nature journaling. I’m really enjoying learning more about observing and recording nature, even though I struggle with the scientific end of it…primarily thinking of questions to ask about my observations. But, the drawing practice is invaluable!
I spent some time watching YouTube videos by John Muir Laws on nature journaling. He uses coloured pencils outdoors. Because I’ve been working from photographs indoors, I’ve been using watercolours. You can use either in either location. But I’m thinking I could use a greater variety of journals, at a more affordable price, if I learned to use coloured pencils properly. So I put an order into Michaels craft store for curbside pickup of a few pencils and a case to hold them.
Here are more watercolour pages in my nature journal.
In other news, I finally finished the last project for the L.L. Bean shirts that belonged to my dad when he passed away three years ago. Dad loved L.L. Bean clothes – their shirts in particular. He had white hair and blue eyes. He could wear just about any colour, and did! The bright orange nylon one became a cushion cover for his widow. The rest I took and sewed into various projects – one for each descendant. You can find “The Shirt Project” video here .
While all of the projects but one were finished within a few months of Dad’s death, one project in particular was vexing. One of my nephews wanted a knife sheath for a jackknife. The shirts just aren’t built for that. But I happened to have some tanned moose hide, so thought I’d try. Then we had to focus on moving. It wasn’t till last fall that I picked up the project again. I broke many needles and couldn’t sew the moose hide on my home machine, even with leather needles. So, after consultation with my nephew, I sewed this alternative gift. Here’s the final project for my last nephew.
Hubby and I also put together a raised garden bed to run along the side of our raised deck. We traded our deformed cedar we had to have cut down (it was growing in power lines) for some milled lumber leftover from a neighbour.
We also put together a Muskoka Bear chair, which is really a type of Adirondack chair. Hubby is working on the matching chair now. It came in pieces. Hubby sanded it, painted it and assembled it. The colour is Aruba Blue by Benjamin Moore, and I just love it!
Well, if you have been, thanks for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful, productive weekend. Take care.
Good afternoon everyone! I worked hard this week and finally finished off the Sketchbook Revival 2021 lessons I wanted to do. This week there were classes in printmaking, mark making to loosen up, character design, costume design, collage, watercolour and nature journaling. I was enamoured with the nature journaling and think I’ll do more of that.
To that end I ordered two books: John Muir Law’s “Nature Drawing and Journaling” and Clare Leslie’s and Charles Roth’s “Keeping a Nature Journal”. Our library had multiple holds on both books, so I decided to buy them.
Here’s a slide show of finished work from the second half of Sketchbook Revival 2021.
In other news…
I hooked quite a bit on the border of “Gyeongju” (the South Korean roof tile end caps rug). Still have a lot more to go.
Hubby and I also took a day off and went with a friend for a drive out on Digby Neck here in Nova Scotia. We meandered around, taking the scenic route on the way there. My imagination wasn’t captured until we got out of the car at the wharf in Delaps Cove. I was mesmerized by the age of the wharf, how battered it was, the rusty spikes and bolts holding it together, the huge granite boulders that made up the breakwater, and, of course, the fish shacks. I took a lot of photos and endured quite a bit of teasing for doing so!
But that was just the beginning for me. I requested we stop at the wharf in Parker’s Cove on the way back. Once again I took lots of photos. Our friend, from a fishing family, was having a good chuckle at me taking pictures of rope. But you know, I’ll say here what I said to her – every good original design starts with a good photo. I will probably get one or two pieces out of all those photos…and that’s okay.
If you have been, thanks for reading. Have a great weekend everyone!
Hi everyone! This week was about hooking more on my Workshop Week courses, and dyeing nylons.
I am done the abstracts from Donna Mulholland’s class. I’m finished the tote bag from Beth Miller’s class. I’m about halfway done the hourglass wall hanging from Nadine Flagel’s class. I still have the Fraktur chair pad from Susan Feller’s class to hook.
I had a great follow up Zoom session with Nadine Flagel yesterday. She confirmed some of my thoughts about the hourglass piece. I made some changes already, but have more to go. I have to be careful because I don’t want the finished piece to be overdone. I want to embellish the sand with beads and embroider some orange flowering vines up the brown hourglass supports.
But onto nylons…
Why dye nylons? How do you use them? Well I use mine for added texture in my rug hooking. I think it’s a good way to recycle them and keep them from the landfill. I also find a pair of nylons goes a long way. If I cut in a spiral down the leg, and pull taut, so it forms a rope, I end up with a small ball of nylon “yarn” I can hook with, and have fewer ends.
Nylons have a long history in rug hooking. The Grenfell Mission rugs were hooked in straight rows with “silk stockings”, the precursor to nylons. Now, imitators of that style of rug hooking use…you guessed it…nylons.
Today I’ve invited a couple of friends over to watch me strip colour out of nylons and dye them. I strip the colour out using RIT colour remover following the package directions. Then I dye them with acid dyes. My favourite dyeing techniques for nylon are just a solid one colour in the dye pot type dye job, and spot dyeing. By Monday I’ll have something pretty to show you!
If you have been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend!
So after looking at my project mind map Monday, how did I do this week? Well, as you can see from the above photo, I’ve removed some of the hooking on “Autumn” to correct a composition error.
I also took the second session of Beth Miller’s class on hooking a tote bag and finished my project bag. It was a fun class and it was interesting to do something a bit different with my hooking, rather than making another piece to hang on the wall. I really enjoyed this class.
Market Tote Bag – Mandala #2
Market Tote Bag – wool on rug warp
Market Tote Bag – Mandala #1
I also worked more on the hourglass for “Time”, a poem my youngest daughter wrote when she was 11 years old. I plan on adding embellishments to this piece. And I will be attaching the poem, on a label, to the back of the wall hanging. This project is for Nadine Flagel’s class.
I have pressed and pinned my abstract pieces from Donna Mulholland’s class. I plan to hem those today.
That leaves the chair pads from Susan Feller’s class to do. Tomorrow I’ll be dyeing fibre for those. I plan on dip dyeing some coral/pink for carnations. I may need more blues for “Time” as well.
Next up after the first chair pad is to finish my South Korean rug. It’s been sitting around far too long. I started it last January 2020. Then I bought a house and furniture and decorating and well, lots of time with family (when Covid let us) and on artist retreats…it was a great year in a lot of ways, but I didn’t work much on the South Korea rug.
Thankfully, come last October, Karen Miller’s first Workshop Week gave me a bit of a wake up call to get hooking again. It’s been slow over winter. Mostly I’ve been playing with finishing class projects and organizing my studio so I can actually get in there to work! I have entirely too much stuff there still.
I have, however, been sketching new designs. Hopefully this year I’ll get to those. I find large projects bog me down. This South Korean End Cap Tiles rug is large for me.
Good morning everyone! It’s been a busy week for me. I’ve been working on Workshop Week 2 projects.
Monday I focused on the market tote bag from Beth Miller’s class. I finished hooking the mandala on the first side. Tuesday I started the second mandala. By Thursday I finished it. Now I’m looking forward to the next session to sew the tote bag up.
Monday I also worked on designing my fraktur chair pad. I had a video/text meeting with Susan Feller to help with the design. I was having problems with the placement of one element – a bud. Thankfully she knew just how to fix the problem. Basically it was an issue with balance – there were simply too many elements on one side of the stem of my carnation pattern. I was glad she could make the time to help me. I quickly sketched the new design properly and put it on backing. In the process of sketching the design I used colour pencils to determine colour placement. I don’t normally do my colour planning like that, but in this case it helped a lot!
Tuesday morning I worked on a design for Nadine Flagel’s class – Text to Textile. I decided to use the hourglass shape and focus on the phrase “time to grow” in my daughter’s poem. This wall hanging will have beads on it, and, if my hands can handle it, embroidery.
Thursday I came in late to Beth Miller’s Parris House Zoom hook-in. I had a good time listening to everyone chat while I finished hooking the mandalas for the tote bag. I cleaned up from that project and started the hourglass pattern.
Today is Lunar New Year and we will spend time chatting with our Asian friends. I also hope to make more progress on the hourglass pattern.
I decided this week it was time to get an overview of unfinished projects, or “planned but not started” projects. So I created a mind map of different types of projects that need finishing. It’s a bit disconcerting, but also a relief to have them all on paper. I can see where I’m going with them now. Most of them have some progress, I just need to focus on them one by one and finish them! But that discussion is for another blog post.
If you have been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend!
This week my emphasis was on sewing new blackout curtains for our master bedroom. It faces the street and there is a street light right out front of the house. I finished all but the hemming by Wednesday night. They have to hang a while before I attempt to hem them.
I did start in on fixing the hand quilting on the 44 year old quilt, but the damage is more extensive than I thought. This is going to take some time to fix.
Tuesday we ended up running errands. Thursday I spent preparing for next week’s Workshop Week 2 through In The Studio, and organizing items to be framed. I took all of my needlework to the framer. I only wanted three pieces done at the moment, but I wanted her opinion on the others. She was very generous with her time and expertise. I have a better idea how to handle my items now. I’m going to cull them further to see how much I really want done.
I still want to finish the South Korea sketches, the South Korean rug, and my Autumn wall hanging. I haven’t decided how I’m going to hook the corner yet.
This week we had a number of health checks that took up time. Plus I go walking for an hour every morning with a walking buddy in my Covid bubble. Next week will be rug hooking time! I’m looking forward to Workshop Week 2!
If you have been, thanks for reading everyone! Have a great weekend!
Not much happening here these days. I’m busy binding a quilt. It is giving me no end of problems on the corners. A friend offered to do it for me. I am debating it. It would be the first project I’ve ever given to someone else to complete! I’m hesitant to do so.
I had an email exchange with a framer this week. I’ve been trying to find one who does lacing or uses brass pins for framing fine needlework on linen. I found a lady who will lace small pieces only. So next week I will be taking three small pieces in to her. Two are Hardanger embroidery pieces and one is a free style embroidery piece. I have a lot more that needs framing, but these are a start. I’m trying to frame or hang finished work here. I have a lot in boxes and bags still.
That’s it for this week in the fibre department! If you’ve been reading, thanks! Have a great weekend everyone!
I promised y’all a post on Friday, and here it is Saturday evening! I’ve been busy and wiped by turn. This past week has been busy.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook will have seen the cushion covers I finished this week. I knit the cream coloured ones as the front and back of a pullover sweater for myself. They are from Handcrafter Cotton. I had to resize the sweater to fit, and design my own sleeve pattern. That’s where I stopped many years ago. So I decided enough is enough. I did not want to finish the sweater and I liked the colour to go in my living room. Into two cushion covers it went! A friend gave me some fabric for backing.
What really started me going was the desire to finish the cushion covers from the pieces I knit last January (2020). This yarn is a gorgeous soft bamboo. I used the same fabric to back these as the previous cushions.
Having finished cushions, I turned my eye towards rug hooking. I watched Tracy Jamar’s retrospective of her work over the last twenty years and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my time with Donna Mulholland and the other ladies on Thursday.
I finished “Autumn” while on Zoom with Donna, et al, but I’m not showing it here until I’m satisfied with it. If you want to see it in its current condition you’ll have to check Jean Ottosen Studios on Instagram or Facebook. I’m not happy with it and plan to change it until I am.
I then turned to home reorganization and decluttering. A friend came over Friday afternoon and evening to help. She has very good spatial sense. I was impressed. I’ve only had to change a few things since she left.
Today I went for a walk with my walking buddy. We just started walking regularly this week. It’s been very good for me. I hope it is for her too.
I’ve also been exploring new recipes with my new Instant Pot. It’s been illuminating, and yummy!
Well,, that’s been my week in a nutshell. I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, but I did finish the cushion project. One baby step at a time!
Well I did not accomplish any crafting this week. I did accomplish a lot of decluttering and reorganizing. Mostly in the kitchen.
Today we ran errands in the morning and had a meeting in the afternoon. Then off to pick up a 2×4 from some friends in our bubble. Of course that meant tea. I love tea with friends!
What did we want with one 2×4? The 2×4 was cut down this evening to make one spice stand in the kitchen cupboard. Tomorrow we’ll do the second one.
This all started when the square glass spice bottles I ordered from ULine arrived today. I spent the evening transferring spices from plastic bags to jars. I often cook with spices, using them instead of salt and pepper in my food. I also cook a wide variety of food. I love cooking! There were close to forty different spices to make room for in that cupboard.
The 2×4 was cut to fit the width of the cupboard and laid flat about an inch from the back of the cupboard. Then another piece was laid flat on top of it, but pushed back to the back of the cupboard. About 2/3 of it resting on the 2×4 piece below. It created a step like situation on which to set spice jars.
This is a very temporary situation until we have our kitchen renovated, which we hope will happen this year. It’s better than the previous situation, which was having a hiking boot box full of spices spilling out onto the countertop!
Here’s to tomorrow. May I get the second shelf done and then work on moving my dye equipment and supplies upstairs!
A busy week visiting within our Covid bubble. Exchanging cookies and gifting a pie to the neighbour. Baking…and baking….
The cookie exchange cookies disappeared quickly. I made Hubby some of my version of the mini brownies from the store – just to keep him out of the cookies! The recipe is from an old website of an old acquaintance. I can’t find it online now. So here is the recipe for Bernadette’s Brownies.
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream the sugar and shortening in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. Either pour into a greased 8×8” pan or divide into 24 mini muffin pans with one side foil cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.
I made more Danish Butter Cookies. This time I made the Almond-Cherry Cookies. I also made an orange flavoured cookie dipped in semi sweet chocolate. Only I didn’t have any oranges for rind, so I grated up some clementine rind. Now that’s tricky business! Clementine rind is thin!
Chocolate Dipped Cookies
1/2 cup butter, unsalted and softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons grated orange peel (I used clementines)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl press flour into butter to blend. Okay, this is where I gave up initially. I washed my hands and used my fingers to break up the clumps of butter and mix it with the flour. Much easier and quicker.
Add sugar, orange peel, and egg. Stir until a stiff dough forms. You can refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes at this point if it’s too soft to roll. Otherwise, roll it between two pieces of wax paper to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 x 2” bars. Place 1” apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments. Be sure to stir between microwave sessions. Dip cookies halfway in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool and harden the chocolate completely Makes 30-40 cookies.
I also made my Ninety Minute Rolls from “Dining on a Dime” cookbook. Only I use a different method. If you feel brave enough to take on yeast, read on!
Ninety Minute Rolls (modified)
2 – 2 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (one package)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
Mix flour and yeast together in big bowl. put sugar, salt, and butter in smaller bowl. Heat water and milk to lukewarm, either on the stove or in the microwave. Add lukewarm water and milk to salt, sugar and butter. Stir with wooden spoon till butter is melted and the salt and sugar have dissolved (doesn’t feel gritty under the spoon).
Stir liquid ingredients into dry. Stir till dough forms. Knead a few seconds till everything holds together. Place a dishtowel over it and let sit 10 minutes. Then knead on oiled or floured surface (depending how tough the dough is) 20 minutes.
Let rise 15 minutes, or till double in size, in a warm draft free place with a dishtowel overtop. Punch down and divide evenly into roll size amounts. This should make 8 or 9 rolls (I often quadruple this recipe). Place formed and pinched rolls into 8×8” lightly greased pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
I wrote on Monday that I’d made tortiere for the Holiday season. We often serve it Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. My recipe makes enough for both days for 4 people. I have modified the recipe by using my ex-sister-on-law’s pastry for the crust.
So here are the recipes for both. As you can see from the size of the pastry recipe, it’s a good idea to set aside a whole day for the pastry and make pies and tortiere at the same time.
1 pound vegetable shortening (or lard!)
5 cups flour
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoon salt (this could be cut in half)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vinegar
Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until smaller than pea size. In a one cup measuring cup mix egg and vinegar. Add cold water to make one cup. Mix into dry ingredients. Shape into balls to roll out between sheets of waxed paper for pie crusts. Makes enough pastry for four double crust pies, or several tortiere!
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium potato, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, finely chopped (I use my food processor)
1 teaspoon sage
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons thyme
1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
One recipe Shirley’s pastry, or enough pastry for two deep double crust pies.
Put oil in a large pan over low heat. Add all ingredients but pastry. Mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes. Cool. Line 2 – 8×8” pans with pastry. Divide meat filling between them. Cover with pastry, seal, and prick with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.
That’s it for my Christmas post everyone! Have a great Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!
Hello all! Christmas preparations are underway here. I am busy cooking for the freezer. Yesterday I had Hubby’s help in making a huge pot of Hearty Salmon Chowder from Anne Lindsay’s “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”. We had some for supper and froze the rest
I made cranberry sauce yesterday, using a long time favourite recipe from “From Old Nova Scotia Kitchens”, modified, of course. Cranberry sauce was one of the items requested for Christmas Day dinner and I am happy to oblige.
Cranberry Sauce (modified)
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Put this all in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Boil hard for 3-5 minutes. Then pour into sterilized cup canning jars. Makes 2-3 cups.
I also made another lemon loaf, just so I could take photos and share the recipe with you, my readers. Well, okay, it was so we could enjoy it too! Here is the slightly modified recipe. The original is from Anne Lindsay’s original “Lighthearted Everyday Cooking”.
Lemon Loaf (modified)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Rind of one lemon
Prepare pan by lining sides and bottom with tin foil, shiny side up, and lightly greasing with butter. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and yogurt and mix well. Add milk and mix well. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir into egg mixture. Add grated rind. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven. Leave in pan. Let cool 3-5 minutes. Mix juice of one lemon with 1/4 cup sugar. Spoon over top of loaf evenly. Let sit till until lemon juice and sugar soak in a bit. Then lift from pan, peel off tin foil, slice, and serve.
Aside from that this week has been busy with arranging a safe way to acquire Christmas gifts and devising safe ways to give. Tis the season for online e-gift cards folks!