Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Sabbath is God's present to the working man,
and one of its chief objects is to prolong his life,
and preserve efficient his working tone.
The savings bank of human existence is the weekly Sabbath.

~ William G. Blaikie

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks for stopping by to see my show and tell items today. If you're visiting for the first time today and would like to find out more about the show and tell, or even sign up to join in the fun, just click HERE to be taken to Kelli's blog where you can find out all the details or add your name to the links list. At least I'm HOPING there's a Show and Tell today, for there's not much happening at Kelli's at the moment, but do check, it might go ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my neighbors to the south!

Well, I have plenty of little treasures around our home which I intend to 'show and tell' but being as I generally visit the thrift store on Thursdays I seem to always have something new to show off. Today is no exception. I found these two wonderful treasures from yesterday's trip.

This festive little dish will certainly serve up some of those ribbony christmas candies to our guests. I wonder if any of you out there will have seen any of these pieces or know if they are collectible or not? I'd love to know.

I was tickled to find this container to hold all my cooking implements. For the longest time I've had them in a mug till now, and while my sister gave me the mug, and it was cute, it was not suitable as it had a very small base and it fell over all the time. And I'd grumble. Not at my sister, for she's wonderful - but its no fun picking stuff up all the time.

Seeing as I have a vintage sort of theme going on in my kitchen, and a fruit thing too, this is the perfect touch!


Of course I baked this week. I think I drive everyone crazy with my constant baking. This is definitely not a good place to visit if you are dieting.

The following photos are of the treats I made for a tea I hosted for two dear friends. One friend is Alison who is less than 1/2 the age of Eileen who's turning 89 - an unlikely pair to celebrate together, and therefore it made this all the more fun. Alison came to pick me up and we drove to Eileen's for the party.

I brought everything I could think of because I was pretty sure Eileen might not have a setting of 12 of everything to serve a full English Tea. I filled a cooler with the Christmas Tea china set my mother in law gave me this summer and I also put in teabags, napkins, cream, sugar.

I baked four different types of scones and whipped up a container of fresh whip cream so we could slather the scones with great 'lashings' of it and also my homemade cherry preserves and apple butter. Mmmm.

I was not the only one to bring food. Leila made a 'stove-top' cooked warm, dark and delicious pudding. She says she ran across a young friend who had no idea pudding could be cooked - the friend thought there was only instant! Rose made puckery lemon bars and Jim and Elaine brought some rich pound-cake.

Leila's husband Nathan brought his guitar and we had a resounding rendition of Happy Birthday to our two special ladies!

I put together this little slideshow so you can feel like you were part of our party too. Notice the little 'birthday princess' balloon floating above Eileen, doesn't that make you giggle?

Alison is in the green party hat, Eileen is wearing purple. And me, I'm the one laughing face to face with Eileen. She's a hoot! I loved blessing my two friends with this fun party.


OOOOHHHH - parcel. *squee*

My mailbox held this yesterday. I was not expecting this. Its from my friend Cicero Sings. I don't know whats in the package. Yet.

I am the WORST for waiting to open things so when I got this I was all charged up to do my usual and open it immediately but I think there is a conspiracy going on... I think my sister must have cautioned everyone haha. Not really. But I did open the card and it says "DO NOT" open at least Dec 10th. (stop snickering, Nina!)

The parcel sits on a table and I know its going to glare at me till the 10th while my mitts itch to open it. Meany Cis. Kidding... but oh, what could it be? LOL.

Thank you so very much, whatever you did you shouldn't have but I'm happy and delighted you did.


We are getting close to the end of this never-ending post. Honest. Can you imagine when I thougth about posting yesterday I could not think of what I could write to even fill a paragraph? Ha!

I've recieved an award!

This award comes to me from Louise (LouCee). Aw Gee you sweet thang! I'm supposed to award this to 5 desrving others... and I will try to do this, just not today as I've got a backlog of 'stuffs' piled up. I wanted to be sure to say thank you and give you a big {virtual} hug! And I'll add you in my list of permanent links, methinks.

In case you don't know Louise, she is a very talented and generous designer. I'd HIGHLY recommend you stop on over at her place today - she's got some fabulous freebies happening and amazing projects to follow and the files to go along with them. She's in cohoots with KimB - and between Louise's gift of bringing it all together in a hybrid card and Kim's sweet elements, you can make some adorable cards! Just click HERE to visit Louise's blog.

And won't you take a tiny moment to drop into my sister's blog - she's just started her own blog and I'm sure would love you to check out her card making! (puffing up with pride!) Just click HERE to say hello. I'm also in awe of my sister in law, Judy's card making. I can't believe the amazing cards she made from the elements I designed. You ladies are incredible! Just click HERE to see Judy's cards too.

And of course, visit Kimmy too, she's like a celebration every day of the year at her place for there's always something nice to download! Just click HERE and I'll ferry you over.


And of course I could not finish my post without leaving a little gift for you too! This element measures about 3" and is in png format with a transparent background. A perfect touch to your festive projects.

Fine for Commercial, Personal and Scrap-For-Hire

Monday, November 24, 2008

~My Sister Gets A Blog ~

Ah, I'm all warm and fuzzy today. I get to brag on my talented Sister and Sister-in-laws! I'll begin with my sister, Nina. Nina just had her birthday recently and I finally convinced her to consider starting her own blog. She's been hand-crafting beautiful scrapbook-type cards for quite a while now and this will be a showcase for her lovely work. I helped her get set up a few weeks ago, but she's just now ready to 'make her entrance' - I hope you'll give her a warm welcome.

I'm so proud I could just bust at the seams.

click HERE to visit my sister's blog!

This is the type of amazing carding she does - I feel a little intimidated by her talent! Welcome to bloggie world, Nina.

PS: don't b'lieve all that mush she says about me... *blushing!*

my birthday card, created by Nina, my Sister!


~My Sister-in-Law Makes Christmas Craft~

And of course, I've shared a special blogging bond with my sister in law Judy, for quite some time now. Judy has been a crafter for YEARS and amazes me with her handiwork. I love that her blog is a showcase for her close-knit family. Thanks for blessing us, Judy.

hand-made Christmas Crackers
made by my sister in law Judy.

Judy has been gathering with a few of her close family to share some fun evenings of preparations for the festive season. It seems that the warmth and fellowship of family brings out the creative side. You can visit Judy at her blog by clicking HERE.


~My 'Nudder Sister-in-Law Sells Her Crafts~

And finally, my sister in law Neti has been taking part in a Christmas Fair held in Sparwood, BC, where she was selling her incredible crafts. Looking at these photos she's sent. I'm trying to figure out how many hours of hard work this represents!

Ohhh - lookit the SNOWMEN!

Crafts by Neti - my sister in law
Next craft sale - November 27th, 2008
at the Sparwood Mall

So, if you just happen to live in the area, please drop in to check out Neti's tables. G'wan, give her a hello from me too!

Neti, you're the next for a blog, right? Don't worry, us Sisters have got it down to a science.


I've had requests coming in to re-issue some of my older Christmas Kits - so here's the one I've been getting the most requests for (which delights me seeing our King and Savior being honoured!) I'd love to see how you use this kit, just send me a small jpg of your layout along with credit details and I'll make you the star of my blog. I think there is someone I'm forgetting who's already sent me a layout. If you're out there can you please let me know?

Worship The King Mini Kit

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My first Artisan Bread Making Demo

my mobile demo kit

I just hosted my very first Artisan Bread Making demonstration. Before you ask, there is no "official" demonstration. I am not part of any company or hired by anyone. I have decided to do this on my own for the simple reason that since I found out about Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, my life has changed. Yes, this is a pretty strong statement, but its absolutely true.

How did I find out about this bread?

I have been listening to a podcast called The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper from American Public Broadcasting. This is a show that we don't receive on radio here, I found it on the internet. On one episode, Lynne interviewed Jeff Hertzberg, co-author of a book called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day. What I heard was very impressive - so impressive that immediately after hearing the podcast I went back to the Splendid Table website and printed out the master bread recipe. Thats where this all began for me.

I've been baking this bread for a few months now and its changed the way I forever bake bread - and I come from a line of traditional baking in my heritage! This method of baking bread is simply revolutionary. It requires no kneading at any point, you mix it in one fell swoop and it stores in the fridge, just waiting till you decide you want to bake it. This ensures fresh bread, on demand.

Why am I taking this out to my part of the country?

I'm doing this because I love a good idea and I love to share a good idea. I like to mentor, as well, and this is a wonderful opportunity to do this. I also love to show people how to save money - which in our current economy is very appealing to many folks. I'm not being compensated in any way for doing this - the joy I see when people find out about this, the thanks they give me, is a huge reward in itself.

I also want to encourage you to visit the OFFICIAL Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day website where you can find out all you want to know about these incredible recipes. The authors Jeff and Zoe are fabulous at responding if you should have ANY questions. They also keep the site updated with new recipes (oh YUM!) And, you can order their cookbook right from the site as well.

Jeff and Zoe have been generous enough to share their basic bread recipe with everyone, but there are MANY more in the cookbook. Its worth every cent you spend, and trust me, if you are looking for a great Christmas present - this is it!

So, the first photo, the one above, is a 'mobile kit' I put together to show the wonders of this bread.

the 'basic' end of the bread basket

I decided the best way to show off the bread was to bake some. In Jeff and Zoe's YouTube Video they have an array of baked goods demonstrating the different goods which can be created, so I thought I would see how far I could stretch a batch as well. I mixed up a batch of the Peasant Bread and it made


the 'brioche' end of the basket

I chose to make the other side of the basket the 'sweet' side. This was my first time trying the brioche recipe from the cookbook, but I was confident it would turn out, as the other recipes I've tried have been fabulous.

can you say buttery?

The brioche recipe is soooooo good and rich. Its a very rich (very ... rich) recipe. Decadent, I'd even venture to say. It was easy to make and still has Mr. Miles slathering for me to make each day. Out of this recipe (and I only used 1/2 of the dough) I made

4 small tea-loaves
1 turban stuffed with cranberries and nuts
1 large turban stuffed with dried cherries
1 fancy pastry filled with apricot preserves and walnuts

can you imagine, ME, the instructor? LOL!

Where was I demonstrating? I was asked to demonstrate at the Learning Center where Mr. Miles works. The Learning Center is an adult education center. People attend to complete their Grade 12 schooling (I graduated here at the age of 43, but am still taking some graphics courses) Students here range from teens all the way up to 80's! Its a very inspiring place to be. Some folks are here just upgrading their computer skills etc.

Elaine asked me to do this demo. She's head of the student council and they are hosting demonstrations on Eathing Healthy/Saving Money. When I heard this, she pounced on me right away. How could I say no?

I have their rapt attention!

Ohhh - I didn't have to worry about getting anyone's attention because everyone loves a great idea. I explained how I found out about the bread and then began.

fridge ready!

I wanted to be sure to show the three stages of the bread dough, so I made sure to have a batch already prepared and refridgerated. I brought along the ingredients for a batch to be mixed up, and of course, the basket for folks to sample!

honing my speaking skills

so much to remember!

We even watched the YouTube video together, because I did not want to forget anything. I'm not nearly as smooth as Jeff and Zoe, for sure. Plus, I wanted the students to know how to navigate to the video and website if they needed it in the future. Some students are learning internet and computers for the first time in their lives, so its important to not assume they know.

I also apologized for not bringing for not bringing my copy of the cookbook book along, because I didn't want to encourage anyone to plagiarize the recipes. I spent time showing the students where they can order the book if they would like to.

Darlene wins the door-prize!

I thought it would be a neat idea to put everyone's name in a hat and draw for a door-prize... which was, of course, a batch of dough. This made my heart smile, for Darlene was chosen and she has NEVER made bread in her life. She was quite excited to try this.

I had so many people thank me after. Everyone enjoyed the baked goods. Several people are going to order the book.

I took a plate of goodies to our local Home Hardware for the owner to sample. She's won top awards in Canada for her store. It features an in-store kitchen where she has chefs come in to do live demos which are a huge success. She'd LOVE me to come in and do one on a Saturday in the future. I'm considering it and Mr. Miles says he'd be game to help.

I'm also doing another one in a small local community as a part of an inter-church exchange and I'm really looking forward to this too.

So, I'm hoping to start an Artisan Bread WAVE across Canada - I can see it happening now. Thank you Jeff and Zoe for being so generous as to share your master recipe. I'm sure your book will be flying onto Canadian bookshelves! I just wanted you to know, I'm not an Artisan Bread website stalker, I just am excited for your idea and am EAGERLY awaiting your next book. Your book is the very first book I've ever purchased online and it will be one I treasure... and muck up!

You can visit the official Artisan Bread in 5 website by clicking HERE.


PhotoJoy Desktop

Ohhh - if you have a fast computer (good graphics card and all that) and you love to display your photo collections on your desktop and screensaver - then you will LOVE this new desktop application called PhotoJoy. It comes with all sorts of cool widgets and backgrounds etc, which allow you to showcase all your favorite photos. Your desktop will garner gasps of envy from all who gaze upon it! Just click HERE to find out more.


Last but not least, I've created a lil sumpfing for you! I made this with my sister Nina in mind because she knows me. She knows I just can't wait to open a present. She sends mine to Mr. Miles with specific instructions like "she no touch" and such things on them. So.... I thought I would make an element which would be with her in mind. I hope you can find some good uses for it!

Measures aprox 3" and is a png file with transparent background.

personal use

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Once again its time for Friday Show and Tell - a fun day created and designated by Kelli from her blog "There is no place like home". If you have something you would like to share, just click HERE and you will be taken to Kelli's blog where you can put your name on the Mr. Linky list too!

I have two things I'd like to share with you today. The first is an apron I have. The past few times I've visited all the participants in the Show and Tell I keep running across someone called "The Apron Queen" - I'm posting this for you, specially as you would appreciate this clever little apron.

This is the full length of it. The first one I saw was made by my friend Marie. If you have been a regular visitor to my blog, you will remember Marie, she's the lady with the Alpacas!

The one Marie showed me was given to her and was hanging off a chair in her kitchen. Hers did not have a 'bib' on it, it was just the jeans and frill part. I was gaga over hers. She saw my admiration and she said "I can do THAT!" And she did, for me. In fact I had her commission one for my sister too.

How COOL is this - repurposed Levi's for the kitchen?

I asked Marie if she might make a bib on my apron because I rarely get messy on the actual apron part - but WATCH OUT on the top! I've been known to have doughballs in my hair at times.

The second thing I'd like to share is this beautiful old chair. Its where I hang my apron, handy for when I need it.

My Grandma had a chair just the same as this, only upholstered in a turquoise blue plastic. Us kids all grew up using that chair. It was a treat to climb up on it and enjoy one of her cookies. We always felt taller. I wonder how many generations sat on her chair.

I found this chair at a yard sale about the summer before last. We had not been in our house for long so were still able to buy some small bits of this and that to outfit it. Oh what fun that was - yard saling with a PURPOSE.

My Mother in Law and Father in Law were visiting and they came out with us. The moment I saw this chair I knew I HAD to have it. My Mother in Law bargained for me (she does guerrilla bartering) and I took it home for a mere $5.

Its always a hit with guests, both big and small.

It comes in so handy for getting things out of high cupboards too - or washing the top of the fridge every so often when the dust bunnies and cobwebs lurk!

Then the little stairs fold neatly underneath. I love my little chair.

layout by blog reader Michele
credits: Worship the King Mini Kit by Barb Derksen

This layout was sent to me by Michele who used a mini kit I'd uploaded last year. I think its perfect the way she framed everyone in here. Thank you so much for sharing, Michele!

Layout by blog reader Judy
credits: Paper and Snowflake Overlay by Barb Derksen

And this very elegant and festive layout was created by blog reader Judy. Thanks for sharing as well.

I love to feature reader's layouts - so if you have made something using my kits or elements please send me a small jpg or link (with credits) and I'll blog you!

I have been recieving requests to revive some of my older kits, specifically my Christmas Season ones - so stay posted, I'll be feeling merry and generous one day soon.

And is everyone up for a contest? Alicia is having a celebration of her 100th blog post (woo hoo!) and she is putting a hardbound NIV Women's Devotional Bible and a leatherbound journal up for grabs for some random, lucky (or should I say 'blessed') person. To be eligable just post your favorite holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas memory and then link back to Alicia's blog post and your name will go into the 'hat'. Just click HERE to go to Alicia's!

My fave holiday memory:

My husband and I usually travel to our parents for Christmas, but this one year found us stranded at home, due to the foul winter weather. At first I was so distressed and upset to not share it with our folks, but once we got used to the idea that there was no way we COULD go, we found ourselves with a VERY RARE time with no plans. No obligations. Nothing, just a few days when we could just be alone together.

I recall we even had snow at the time. So we put up a teensy tree and decorated. Usually if we were going away we would not decorate. My mother in law decorates enough for everyone - LOL.

So, we decided to decorate and created our own festive atmosphere. We were able to take part in our Church activities - that was important to us as well. And we lived across from a hill and we had snow and we were able to buy a crazy carpet and a 'saucer' and we went sliding. And somehow our house key got lost. And we had to call a key guy to break into our place.

And we snuggled, and watched movies and spent some very wonderful time together.

Don't get me wrong, I would not trade being with family for anything, but it was rather nice having my husband all to myself - kind of like the BEST Christmas gift of all.

With no further ado, here is the second ornament I promised - unadorned so you can decorate it to your heart's content. PS - I'd love to see what you do!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Late Fall River and Meadows

I've been so busy designing this past year that I neglected my art. I'm still an active member of the Federation Of Canadian Artists - but I've not painted anything for so very long. To become an active member, I had to have some of my paintings juried and accepted. When I was accepted it was a huge thrill. Then I got sidetracked.

Why, it was only recently I undertook to re-organize my art supplies and realized I'd not touched my watercolors for an entire year! How the time slips away.

I like to paint when an image 'grabs me in the gut' - nothings done that for a while. Then, I saw an image posted on my friend Cicero's blog and I begged for permission to paint it.

I did it digitally, entirely in ArtRage and using a Wacom graphics tablet. It took me two days (because I was inspired - some paintings take me years) I did it with a limited color pallette, on a single layer, with mostly a single sized brush. I only used a small brush to add the fine details at the end.

I'm feeling fulfilled - art is in my blood!

bleh, my blog header is ALL messed up. Pls stay tuned for a new header in the next few days !!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yeah, LET IT!


I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

by Emily Dickenson

REALLY - LET IT FLY... I'm SO ready!

Well, I'm not really, for the driving in it part, the winter clothes part. I guess I'm just tired of the rain lately and am thinking anything would be better.

In case you are wondering why I put up TWO versions of the same graphic, its because I'm showing you the ability of a very cool online graphic tool I came across. Its called SumoPaint, and these are two versions of a simple graphic I created in a short time. I'm VERY impressed with SumoPaint as it has many, MANY features - it supports layers, has filters, blending modes, allows you to save to their gallery and share, or download to your computer. You MUST try this out! Just click HERE to be transported.

I'd love to see what YOU create!

I was helping my husband organize paper at the school recently and I found this under the sink. Ewwww - I have never dreamed of looking under the desks and tables. I remember hiding gum under my desk as a kid, but this is an Adult Learning Center. You suppose it still happens? I daren't look. Anyways, this can looks about 50 yrs old or something.

Yummy Parmesan Breadsticks

Yep, she's on about her bread again. LOL.

These are breadsticks I made using the Peasant Bread dough recipe from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook (see link in my links list) - but I added italian spices to the dough, flax and I rolled the sticks in parmesan cheese before baking.

I'm going to make a whole bunch of these this week as I'm doing a demo of the bread on Thursday for the schools pot-luck lunch.

Short and sweet blog entry today. I've decided to make a little personal-use 'something' for you to herald my wanting to bring the festive season on! I'm posting the decorated version today - later in the week I will post an un-decorated version which you can fix up with your own embellishments. This element is BIG - probably hangs to a little over 8 inches!

I'd LOVE to see how you use it - and feature your layouts on my blog! Just send me an 800 x 800 jpg and I will post it here!

Do YOU have snow yet?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Once again its time for Friday Show and Tell - won't you come and join in the fun?

The more the merrier!

Just visit Kelli's blog by clicking HERE and sign up using the form.

Today I'm going to share another baking adventure. I'm sure some of you may want to tell me to "shut up already" with all the yummies I've been featuring. (ya, like YOU, KimB, I know I'm torturing you and I did WARN you) But I can't help it, honestly. Its all the fault of Zoe and Jeff at the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I've got a serious addiction! LOL! I think their blog needs a warning on it.

soft and pliable like 'grown up' play doh!

To celebrate the one year anniversary of their Artisan Bread cookbook, Zoe and Jeff have posted a recipe for bagels on the blog and are also giving away two copies as a celebration. So git on over there and leave your 'bread' experience on the blog for your chance to be drawn. Just click HERE to be transported!

I bought the cookbook a few weeks ago - this recipe on their blog is a bit different. I saw the recipe and it beckoned to me. Bagels are something we detour for whenever we go to the city. We usually buy ours at Safeway because they are so wonderful and toothsome - but it adds up! It usually costs somewhere in the range of 8 dollars for a dozen - and we did not begrudge this, for its a superior quality.

These cost pennies, compared.


boiling the bagel

I didn't imagine making them myself. But because of the amazingly easy method for the dough for these things - I had some ready to go - I decided to give it a try!

I used a smaller pot for the water, and adjusted the sugar etc because we had limited fresh water on hand - I bring it in. Besides, I only wanted to do a 'test batch' of a half a dozen.

It was challenging to flip the BIG bagel in the little pot! Flupp!

a new smell for my nose to appreicate!

I used the Peasant Bread dough from the cookbook, with flax seeds too. Then, I decided to experiment with some toppings too. I had some black seasame seeds, some pumpkin seeds, some flax seeds and some oats. So, I did a bit of 'mix and match'

we have success!

Well, Mr. Miles was not home at the time - he was completely unaware. But get this - when he arrived home he gravitated IMMEDIATELY to them, his nose wiggling like Peter Rabbit in the cabbage patch! He did NOT notice that I'd changed the entire kitchen counters around, including the microwave, toaster oven etc. In fact he did not notice that until the following morning.

better than a bakery

I'd never had a bagel hot out of the oven before - and its almost impossible to discribe in words. Crrrunchy on the outside, an almost nutty overtone. Soft and steamy and moist inside. Danger, danger! (Kim, turn your eyes away, girl!)

happiness is an oven-fresh hot bagel

Topped with cream cheese and some of my own homemade rosehip jam from this summer? I think I live in a bakery now.

I think this is the start of me making these a regular part of our diet.

Have YOU made bagels before? Its so easy the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day way...

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