Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vacation at Art Knapps

Short of going on a real vacation I could have set up camp in Art Knapp's Plantland theother day. Soooooo nice and warm and beautiful.































-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthdays!

Best Wishes go out to our daughter Dezrae and my dear friend Valinda. I'm thinking of you both today - hope you get spoiled rotten!

You can visit Valinda's blog and leave your own sentiments by clicking on her blog header below.

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And in celebration I'm giving TWO element packs away! The first one is called Button Eyes and it was made by the Mr. for Dezrae who is wonderful and quirky and he figured she might think they were a neat way to honour her. We LOVE you!

The second is a set of Heart of my Heart elements - these are in thinking of you today, Valinda! Both these sets are Personal Use. BIG HUG!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

A Teensy Tiny Glimpse of the Torch...

 

olympic

 

The 2010 Olympic torch passed by this morning.  I saw the twinkling lights of the support vehicles through tree tops, heard the reverberation of the bass of the music, heard the shouts. 

We had hoped to join in the celebration in town last night but my Mr. was suffering a cold and so we did the right thing and stayed indoors. 

I have mixed feelings about our Olympics.  I feel it's turned into such a huge commercial machine.  I'd like to see it being more about the athletes and their accomplishments - and see them promoted and supported more.  And I have to agree with a sentiment a friend voiced to me - that they should be held in only ONE place, ever.  The reason being the expense, each country trying to outdo each other with their venues.  If it were in only one place then the existing infrastructure could simply be upgraded now and again.  Also firm plans could be made for travel, accommodation, security etc.  Its simply hard to justify money being tossed about like this when there are so many worthy needs in our province.

This said - I would have liked to have watched the torch being relayed - one of the torch bearers was Tony, a man who works at Home Hardware.  Tony has Down's Syndrome and he is a sweetheart of our town.  He's always got a cheerful word for everyone and is a hard worker.  He's dear to each of us.  Another torch bearer was a student of my Mr.'s so we would have liked to see him too. 

You can view an interactive map of the Olympic Torch route - see photos etc by clicking the graphic below (we are at Osoyoos)

 

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How do YOU feel about the Olympics? 

Friday, January 22, 2010

iPhone Cover





Just a fun little knitting project - I conjured up a simple pattern for a soft iPhone cover. The wool is a chenille meant for weaving, the ribbon a gift from my sister and the charm repurposed from a earring who had no mate.



-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mmmmmm...




Happiness is a fresh, hot and cheesey breadstick fresh from the oven.


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making Oat Flour & Nummy Muffins








I found out that it's a snap to make oat flour using my Magic Bullet. Just whiz oatmeal in it and... voilĂ ! There you have it!

Course I had to make something to try it out so I used this recipe at

http://pccuisine.com/blueberry-muffins.html








I used the milk instead of yogurt, used olive oil, added in some bran and a bit of molasses - then TONS of big fat blueberries, snipped up dried apricots and a fistful of walnut halves.

I always bake my muffins with three cookie sheets under it so the bottoms don't brown too much.

Have YOU ever ground your own flours?

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

The "Belle of the Birthday" and being a Garbologist











This is Isabelle. She's a dear friend and she just turned 80 years old. My friends Leila and Nathan organized a surprise party for her on Thursday night at our church. They usually have dinner with her on that night each week so it was not difficult in tricking her into coming to the church where we were all waiting.











The party was a huge success and she truly felt honoured.

I helped set up beforehand. I still had to put away Christmas decorations too! Things got squared away first - all the way I was tantalized by the heavenly smells of the giant lasagne Leila was cooking.

I had been downtown before this and did something I rarely ever do - I stuck some change into my pants pocket. Some coins and two five dollar bills.

I guess I got so involved in decorating that somehow between putting up balloons, streamers etc I must have used my pockets to hold an assortment of items such as my mini leatherman's tool, scotch tape, pins and that sort of thing. I must have pulled the dollar bills out of my pockets and tossed them in with the trash. Sigh!

I didn't discover the money was missing until we left the building that night. The next day I really debated with myself if it was worth it to get it back - but in the end I (literally) rolled up my sleeves and dived in.










Ewwww!

Past the plastic packaging, past the paper plates and beyond the squishy remains of shepard's pie and lasagne - all mashed together... And cold and clammy (shudder!)











In the end I retrieved one of the two bills.

This called to mind one time when my Mr. And I had taken out cash to pay the rent. He asked me to hide it on a safe spot for a while so we would not have to make an extra trp to yhe bank. I secreted it away on a sock drawer inside an old pair of socks.

I to this day do not know why but the very next day I got a phone call from big brothers and sisters to say they were picking up clothing donations curbside - could I place them out.

I quickly tossed a bag together -including THAT pair of socks. A few hours later my Mr and I were talking and all of a sudden it HIT me!!!

Thank goodness the collections had not been picked up and I was able to retrieve the $500 cash. To this day it makes me laugh with relief.

Have YOU ever thrown money out by mistake? How about sucked up a piece of jewellery or something with the vacuum? Lost an earring Down the sink? A ring down the toilet? Got a good story you would like to share here?



-- Post From My iPhone





Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dreary Outside - Warm Inside








The rain hardly stops and the snow has almost melted away. The sun is packed away behind a thick doughy bed of heavy grey cloud. But this did not deter me from walking outdoors yesterday.

I love the almost mysterious feeling of walking with an umbrella. I have two - one is a bright and fun one decorated with cute forest animals but yesterday I chose the plain black one.

I felt safe and anonymus as I strode through the nieghborhood.








I saw this apple bejeweled with raindrops, so wet with coming defrosted that I imagine the apple to be applesauce on a tree. The little kid in me wants to quickly pluck it and squish it under my shoe. I'm certain it would make a satisfying splotch on the pavement if I did.








I was truly surprised to see these mushrooms coming up! I can't recall ever seeing any this early in the year.








Each rosehip sports it's own gem and the scene of entire banks of them together is a delight to the eye.

There's beauty to be found even on a rainy dark day in the middle of winter.

*****

An addon to yesterday: I do 'babyproof' our home if we expect little ones coming and I have a lovely toybox as well.

*****

I have two pillows on my side of the bed and I'm quite attached to them. I always take them with me when we travel, in fact.

One pillow is a contoured foam one. It's quite rigid and it dips in on one side. I use this one as a 'base'.

The other pillow is a light and fluffy, good Old Fashioned feather pillow. I've had it forever - so long it feels like a part of me. It's as soft as the fluff in a bullrush and it wraps tenderly around my head and cuddles me to sleep. It smells like me and I take great comfort in that when I have had a day where the world has ripped my face off. Somehow, smelling my sleep in the pillow brings me peace and I'm able to let any horrid old day go.

I think my pillow cradles my head into good positions for dreaming.

Do YOU use a hard or soft pillow? Foam or stuffing or feathers?


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yicky Weather and a Question





Doesn't our forecast just make one shudder?

While I am totally grateful that we are not like the eastern provinces who keep getting snow upon snow upon snow, I'm having a difficult time keeping sunny thoughts in my head. When I was young and foolish I'd flee to a tanning bed as a solution but I want to keep my hide supple so refrain from these days. I've always loved having seasons so I don't think I could like living in a place where it was constant unchanging sunshine but at this point I'd love to be able to enjoy a warm climate for even a day or two.

What do YOU do when it's dreary for days on end?

I have another questin for you too.

When I grew up in a large family (6 brothers and 1 sister) our family was not exactly POOR - but awfully close at times. For example one time my father suffered awful burns to one of his legs due to his clothing catching on fire (a spark from a welding torch). He had to rely on workman's compensation for a long stretch with my mom not being able to work on order to help dad and look after us. It was a difficult time. I don't know how they managed to keep food on the table. I don't recall them ever relying on food banks either - they were very proud people.

Well - you can imagine with little food in the first place dinners were "you got what you got" on your plate and you ATE what you got. All of it - and no complaining because it would not have done you any good.

A note aside - our mom was a wonderful cook who managed to cook nutritious food on a budget.

Also, with so many mouths to feed there was no way we were ever allowed to just help ourselves to food. We could not afford to do that! Our mother was British and taught us manners. We would never dream of helping ourselves without asking first.

And that goes double when at someone else's house. I was raised to not ask for things but it was acceptable to ask occaisionally when food was placed out. I would never even THINK about just helping myself and I'd DIE (or be punished) if I ever just went into some one else's cupboards or fridge without an invitation or permission.

I think that to my parents it was a reflection of how they brought us up. And it mostly makes sense to me.

So I'm confessing here that it horrified me when people do this in my home. Honestly I am completely generous and hay, go for the food or candy dish I've placed in front of you. No worry if you need the cream for your tea. No problems there. And if you're close to me I'll be the first to encourage you to "help yourself" to ANYTHING" if we are not strangers. But for me personally the "help yourself" policy is something that comes as a trust issue. It says "you're family or a friend".

Sometimes I feel guilty - I truly struggle with this. I see friends who just throw the doors open on everything without a second thought - and part of me admires that. The other part of me still thinks it's good to teach kids boundaries and manners to ask.

Sigh, this leads to part two - THINGS. My parents would have definately had a problem if we were to visit somewhere and we "touched" peoples things, you know - possessions, ornaments, other kids toys without either being invited to do so or getting permission.

Yet many kids do that now. When this happens I never know how to handle it. I don't MIND if someone is curious about something in my home and if they show an interest I will be the first one to take the item and offer it for examination - but when someone helps themself it irks me.

I think part of WHY I was taught this is because my parents knew if we ever broke something they could never afford to replace it.

So - I'm really stuggling with this issue and sometimes it hinders my friendship because I find myself focussed on this rather than just enjoying company. Part of me resents I even have address this topic - to me, because it's the way I was raised I feel like this is a "no brainer".

So when little Jane or Johny opens my fridge or freezer unbidden and demands "whatcha got?" or grabs a precious ornament in sticky little hands - well it bothers me. Now if they asked first it would be a DELIGHT to show the item or rustle up some victuals.

By the way, it took me months upon months to feel ok to help myself to my mother in laws fridge - and when I finally did it felt like an honour. To me it marked a milestone in our relationship.

So... Now I've had my rant I'd love to know YOUR thoughts on this!



-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tis Done - my little project!

I'm a "Bad Aunt" - forgetting the date of my nephew Zach's birthday. Good thing he's reached an age of maturity where he can forgive me. He will surely put it down to my old age which becomes all the more evident each time HE tacks on another year. I know you celebrated in style!

Soooo... What was I doing when I should have been going to the post office with a card? I was knitting, of course. It's thoroughly addictive and I could not put my project down tl it was complete.

I'll walk you through.





I used cut up shopping (trash) bags mixed with some good bulky yarn I found at a thrift store. I also accented in places with a pretty mohair like wool which was mulberry and shot through with tiny gold threads.





And I say THANK YOU - to the never ending supply of grocry bags I used to curse for they knot up into all sorts of wonderful things.





In case you're wondering how to do this - simply lay the bag flat, squeezing all the air out - then fold it sideways about for times. Cut off the top "handles" and the bottom 1 inch of the bag.





You unfold each little section (right) into long strips and "chain" them together by looping one through another. Now you can knit the strips on their own into a variety of projects or you can do what I did - mix them with other yarns.

I had a plan in my head - a vision of what I wanted to create. I'd lay in bed at night and think about how to do it. Knitting is very much to do with mathematics but I got sorted for most and learned along the way for the rest. This is the basic start of what I made and I'll walk you through the finish of it.





A purse! Very basic in style but it works for me.





I used a rug hook to 'sew' some of the seams together though there were not too many seams as I knitted this on circular needles. Note: knitting with this heavy yarn and how thick with the bags ... Very hard work on the hands! I won't be knitting another in the near future to give my hands a rest.





The white bits are the shopping bag pieces - makes this very sturdy, perfect for a project like this.





My mr. Helped me choose this button (two buttons together, actually) to accent.





Added in an 'anchor'





VoilĂ ! Complete and ready to use!





Ummm looks like I got knitted right into my project! I warned you it's addictive.


-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Becoming Tradition




Well we can't really afford nor justify it but we have been enjoying an outing once or twice a month. It's not terribly expensive - especially if compared to what it would cost to have dinner out. But this is a very welcome time that my Mr. and I look forward to - we anticipate it with our mouths and tummies. It's the exoticness of these little treasures called Dim Sum.




I always get a thrill to see what's under the lid of the "party tray" we order.




And there you have it - an assortment of about a dozen unique and modest delicacies.




Mr. And I prepare our soy sauce and hot chili sauce to accent. This is his "edible artwork"




And here's mine. A feast for the eyes.




This is an order of the sticky rice .




It comes all wrapped up in this HUGE leaf which we found out is a lotus leaf.




And our meal is complete when we add these pot stickers.

Hmmm - I missed taking a photo of an extra dish. It was a small cup of "dessert" ~ a complementary dish, a gift from the management. It was a very pale green, a thin milky looking broth, sweet, with a touch of pulp in it and tiny tapioca seeds. It was very sweet. The owner told us it was made from beans.

Mr. hated it (pulling a face I wish I'd caught on camera as if he was using his front teeth to scrape a caterpillar off his tongue!).

I thought it was fine though suspiciously like my buckwheat porridge!



-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, January 08, 2010

Inspired





I've taken up knitting in the past few months - why didn't someone inform me it's so addictive? Problem is I can't stick to a pattern and so I wind up making my own things. These are a pair of fingerless glove I made for one of our daughters - perfect for our generation of "texters".





And now I've ventured int some fun fibres and found materials. Acually I have bought all my wools at thrift stores, besides some interesting balls I've been given.





This is what these fibres knit up like. What do you think I'm making?



-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Nutty about Thursday!





Today I made my own "butter" out of almonds and you can too! It's so simple - just take whatever nuts you like and put them in a blender, or as I did in my Magic Bullet. I took a few extra nuts and toasted them for added flavour. Add just a pinch of sea salt and then whirl away adding olive oil into the mix until it's the consistency you like! Numm.

My Mr. Liked this much more than my buckwheat cereal. He was never fed anything 'mushy' as a kid so is horrified when is offered anything of the sort. He claims I violently pursued him, teaspoon in hand yesterday to try it. It was traumatic to hom to be chased with porrige. So today I gently coaxed and got good results. You think I should do the old "the spoon is an airplane (car, truck, train)" trick we do to little kids? *snort*

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Good Breakfast

Right - I usually have just a blended fruit smoothie for breakfast in the morning.  I'm not a big breakfast eater but my Mr. always tries to encourage me to eat one.  And I know breakfast is an important part of the day.  So, I've been experimenting and as I always loved "Cream of Wheat" when I was a kid the following recipe appealed to me.

 

 

I had a package of buckwheat sitting in my cupboard for a long time just waiting to be used, so this was a good opportunity to try it.  Being the recipe calls for raw buckwheat just soaked overnight it does not take a lot of work.  And I know EXACTLY what's in my breakfast cereal this way.  I did not add any sweetener at all other than 1/2 a banana and I also blended in the extra nut pulp left over from my next item - the almond nut milk I made.  It turned out terrific!

I was researching on the internet and it also looks like buckwheat might be beneficial for a diabetic diet - might be worth checking out.

This is great - as you can see you can use any sort of nuts.  I added a hint of vanilla to mine and it tastes wonderful.  I used almonds and am looking forward to trying other nuts.  I use my magic bullet for everything - its perfect with the cups you can store your "milk" in the fridge! 

Here's some photos of my own:

buckwheat trio

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A healthy and yummy breakfast.  Have you any favourite "healthy" breakfast recipes you can share with me and my blog readers?  If you send me some jpg's and the recipe I'll post them here!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Another Dinner, a Free QP and a LOT of snow

I still owe out a trillion blog visits and emails but wanted to put down my thoughts and adventures while they are fresh in my mind.

We had a great weekend with our daughter.


First we went into town on Saturday morning and hit the flea market.


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This is my dear friend Rose in the front - she met us at the flea market (danger danger with us two together at a market - only sometimes it helps if one of us is short a few coins... we enable one another) And the beauty in the back with dark hair is our daughter!


We had a good time and I even found a little travel iron for 50 cents - HA!


Rose came home with us and we all made cards for about four hours.


Later, Melanie and her friend allowed us to pamper them the first evening but the second one we were pushed back into our chairs and ordered just to enjoy!


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First took fresh chicken breasts, patted them dry, then stuffed them with a mixture of goat cheese, mushrooms and shallots and then wrapped them in prosciutto.


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See, all ready for the oven!

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Next, she baked a spaghetti squash in the oven, whole! What a great way to make this. Was soft and succulent - steamed in its own self. She also steamed fresh cut green beans to accompany.


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Cooking up a storm!


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With aid from her boyfriend who was very helpful!

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They turned out wonderful.

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A veritable feast!


And all too soon the weekend was over and I was waving goodbye. Thank you sweet daughter for everything - we loved having you.

*****


And its been snowing, snowing SNOWING here all day. Lots of wet and heavy stuff. Not pleasant for much at all. Most of it is melting too. Hopefully it will stop in the next day. They tell us it will but we will see.

*****

Seeing as I have a trillion things still on my list I'm going to keep this short. I am able to give you a sweet 8 x 8 inch Quick Page that my friend Valinda (big hug) made for you using my Junkyard Garden kit. Hope you enjoy. You will want to visit Valinda's site to see the (gasp!) gorgeous doll her daughter Christy made. She's got incredible talent. She also made the pretty cross which was part of the surprise Christmas package Valinda sent me. (Thank you Valinda!)

I did not take a closeup of the cross because a little bird told me that my Sister in Law Judy might recieve one as well and I did not want to wreck the surprise. You can see a picture of the cross at Judy's BLOG and also find out her BIG news! And see cute baby pics. :) Who can resist a baby pic?


OD_Junkyd-Gar_QPbyVal


This pretty QP has three windows in it - I just darkened the bottom for the preview. Simply click on the graphic to download!

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