Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine Swap

Vivian hosted a one on one Valentine Goody Swap this year.
I am so very lucky to be Viv's partner!
I am crossing my fingers that she gets her box before Valentine's Day.
I had such a hard time deciding what to include. Because if you know Vivian - you will know that she has everything! And what she doesn't have, she can make. I've never met such well rounded, talented artist.
I forgot to take photos of what I sent before I had wrapped everything. But here it is, in the box.

I made her some mittens out of recycled and felted sweaters. The pink sweater is cashmere :). There are lots of other goodies in there including heart shaped gingerbread cookies, and some vintage sewing notions.

And YAY! Both of our parcels made it to their destinations before Valentines Day!
this is what came from Viv:

such fun goodies! Thank you Vivian!

super cute lovey dovey swans :)

and a vertical garland - it looks awesome on my classroom door - but I could not get a decent photo :(

Valentines - Love is All Around

This year, to help jump-start my creativity, I joined a few valentine swaps.

First up is Aunt Peaches Valentine Swap. I think that I have joined this one 3 times. I've received lovely valentines from around the world. We send 3 out, we get 3 back. Easy peasy. ( well, it should be, I don't usually get three back :(

I was a bit inspired by the song Love is All Around (the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show).
so I included the lyrics on the back.

It's funny -- all these years I have been singing it to myself as "you can have it now" not "you can have the town" . When I researched the lyrics I found many different versions ( "you can have it all") . And apparently the lyrics DID change after the first season. I never found an official copy of the lyrics, so I chose this one.

Hmm, funny -- now that I look at these onscreen, I wish that I had stitched the hearts. They look a bit detached and floating. Oh well! (they were made from a very thick piece of felted / fulled sweater, so I decided not to stitch because I thought it would destroy the paper. I should have stitched first, then glued them on...)

so, 3 strangers will receive one each, and the rest went off to friends.


This month'sFood in Jars Challenge is Salt Preserving. I wasn't interested in most of the salt preserving ( salt preserved lemons seem to be a favourite of most people - but in the north, I don't have a bumper crop of lemons that needs "putting up")( although this salt preserved grapefruit with black pepper and loves sounds pretty wonderful! - and really, it only takes one grapefruit - maybe I will try it today....)
Marisa suggested making sauerkraut -- which is made of only cabbage and salt ( and other veggies/ spices as desired). I used Marisa's recipe from her blog -- find it here.
So I broke out my new mandoline ( Mr. B calls it my banjo) and shredded up some cabbage and some carrot. I added the salt, and it bubbled away on the shelf for a few days. Now, a week later, it has stopped bubbling, but continues to ferment. My kitchen is a bit cool, so it might take another week. Sauerkraut can take a week, or 6 weeks! You just have to keep tasting it to see if you like it :). When I tasted mine, it seemed salty and hot, like horseradish! I'll test it again in a few days.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars is hosting a year long Food in Jars Mastery Challenge on herwebsite and on Facebook.
The January challenge is Marmalade.
Marmalade is not my favourite preserve, but I was willing to give it a try because Mr. B loves Marmalade (and so does my mom - more on that later).
First up, I tried Cranberry Lime Marmalade. It was beautiful and jewel-like. Lime rinds just look terrible when you boil them though! (greenish, greyish, brown). So glad that they were hidden in the cranberries. Mr. B liked the tartness, but agreed with me -- it needed more lime. I'm going to try again this week with double the limeyness. I haven't seen my mom yet for the taste test.

Next up I tried Emma Galloway of My Darling Lemon Thyme's Three Citrus Ginger Marmalade. Apparently she doesn't like bitter marmalade, so it was less bitter. It is made with Ruby Red Grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Mr. B declared it his favourite marmalade! And apparently it will get better as it ages :) But sadly I realized that my mom shouldn't be eating this one because she isn't supposed to eat grapefruit. Doh! I'm going to have to make another batch of orange marmalade. Here is the Three Citrus version in progress:

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy 2017!

A new year....
And we started the year off right -- at the beach (wishing it was warmer!)

2016 (and earlier) was all about blog troubles. Blogging has become increasingly more difficult for me. I want to blog from my iPad or phone, but Blogger no longer has an app, and wants you to blog from your browser (a grand technological leap back, in my opinion) , and the other apps I used (blogpress, BlogGo) don't work anymore. Seriously, blogging died because it was murdered.

I have so many problems with photo rotation! It used to be so easy, if a photo loaded and was rotated, then just click it and rotate. That feature is no longer on desktop blogger. AND all of the past photos that's I did rotate, have, years later, reverted back to sideways or upside down. So disappointing and frustrating. Yet, here I am, in an attempt to revive this thing! ( I am posting with the app Blogo - which appears to be great so far. Unfortunately, you get one blog for free, then you have to pay a yearly fee to add more - I'm starting with the one for free, then will re-evaluate)

2016 was bittersweet with my friendships. I was so busy with school, and I didn't see Meep as often as I wanted to, and my dear friend D retired. After 10 years of her being my teacher partne-in-crime, she retired. But I still saw her often (weekly!) as she lived near school. Then she moved :( I still see her, but not as often -- but she has a fabulous house :) . And then MC, my other teacher-partner-in-crime, my lost sister, left my school for greener pastures. I miss her terribly.

2016 also brought much joy! Baby G! Adorableness. And the Lovely Miss L is such a wonderful mommy :)

My "one word" for 2017 is NURTURE. I am going to nurture myself first. Reconnect with my friends who I miss so much. Spend more time with family (that's you Mr. B). And, of course, nurture the kiddos at school.

I'm also hoping to make something every week! Nurture my soul! This week I have made quince paste from the frozen quince that I found on the ground underneath the quince in Nova Scotia, and I made rosehip jelly. I sewed a tea cozy, and knit a scarf. I sewed a hat from felted sweaters. Of course, being on holiday really helps :) but, even before the holidays I sewed a lot for Baby G!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Summer recap :)

Whoa! I haven't been here in a LONG time. I planned to blog a lot this summer.... but I had a very lazy summer :)

The end of school is always a busy time -- but this year was busier than ever. My daughter, the Lovely Miss L -- had a baby! I'm refering to him as G -- my little Grandpeanut. He will call me Mimi (mimmy). I just can't face being called Grandma yet -- besides, my mom is Gramma -- and we don't want to confuse the little peanut, do we?

I had a lovely time this summer on the East Coast. I missed the little peanut, but Miss L was SO GOOD at FaceTiming with me, and texting me photos.

Andy loved rowing with our neighbour, B! She took us out into our inner harbour. So peaceful!


 I taught myself how to filet mackerel. The internet is one awesome teacher.


I went a little overboard with the preserving. I canned blueberry sauce, rasberry sauce, raspberry jam, raspberry lime jam, raspberry-saskatoonberry jam, blackberry rhubarb jam,  pincherry-lime jam(my favourite), saskatoonberry jam, and many kinds of blackberry jam (seedless is worth the work!)  I filled about 100 jars. Guess what EVERYONE is getting for Christmas this year!
And I made watermelon rind pickles (sweet) and some curry pickles (vinegar)! (I also made watermelon jam. Not my favourite)
I tried to make choke cherry jam -- but I couldn't get that weird astringency to go away, so I composted it.

 Lots of pin cherries. Imagine pitting these. Not so fun. But so worth it!

 All of those berries, i picked from my yard, or from the sides of the road. Foraging is so fun. I picked those pin cherries, and then  later that afternoon, the birds swooped down and ate ALL of the cherries from the tops of the trees (and the few that I missed lower down)

 Freezing raspberries

I picked so many blackberries that I had to give away a whole grocery bagfull of frozen packs at the end of the summer.  I couldn't fit them in the cooler to bring back to Toronto. Uh, we had 3 coolers full of jams and berries....

A very huge thank you to Marisa McClellan from Food in Jars for her brilliant blog and her perfect recipe books.

And a shout out to Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison for their awesome recipe book, Batch (I made my own pectin!)(And that is where the watermelon rind pickle recipe came from). And they are home town favourites (Toronto). Their website is Well Preserved.

If you want to get into preserving -- there are so many places to take classes. Last fall, Mr. B and I took a CSA canning class at the West End Food Coop. Last year, BlogTO created a list of where to take cooking classes in Toronto -- lots of them have canning classes. And so many other cooking classes.... (Mr. B? Pick a class! - MY birthday is coming up :)

My perfect dream life would include canning and preserving every day. I LOVE teaching, but canning would still win :)
I bought a food dehydrator this year too. So far I have made rhubarb candies (from Batch) and dried apples and dried raspberries (I was picking 4 quarts a day at one point! my freezer filled up too quickly!) I'm hoping to dry a lot more this fall.

Well, that was summer. Let's see if I manage to blog more often in the fall :)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories - Rheostatics and The Lawn

Side 1 -- The Rheostatics -- Melville
Side 2 - The Lawn -- DeBussy Fields

 Obviously, this tape is a keeper. I'm not sure where all of my other Rheo tapes are -- I had lots....
(That's my writing for Melville -- I think that is Jamie D's writing for the Lawn tracklist.... )

I first started listing to the Rheostatics around 1990. They played a few times at Call the Office. I remember Blue Rodeo joining them onstage for an impromptu gig -- because Blue Rodeo's outdoor concert was cancelled (it was pouring rain). That was a fun night :) . I spent some time before and after most of their London shows just hanging with the band. I don't really remember it much -- almost 30 years ago. I just remember one of the guys saying (every time he re-met me) "I have an Aunt Martha" :) I wonder who it was. I'm thinking Tim?

I think that this is my favourite song from Melville... but, seriously, I like them all. I have this on cd. I have 2 copies of this cd -- and 2 of Whale Music :)

Mr. B and I went to see the Rheostatics on Friday night at Massey Hall -- read about it here, on the tumblr blog: Tales of the Rabbitfish.


At first, the signage (letters on poles) seemed to be a mistake. But I posted on facebook -- "An epic typo, or a new era?"




 I am so happy that we went (we also saw them in September at the AGO). I'm hoping that we can see them again, soon -- they are playing in Dundas, Ontario on August 27th at  -- but I don't think I'll be able to go to that one :(

Hearing Martin Tielli sing is like listening to angels :) It made me so incredibly happy to hear them. I'm still on the high 2 days later :)

My favourite Rheostatics Song:
California Dreamline from Whale Music (also my favourite album)(of all time :)

Another favourite -- a cover of Jane Siberry's One More Colour! (from Introducing Happiness)

And... The Lawn... What ever happened to The Lawn? I think that I heard somewhere that the drummer, Mike Duggan, is the owner of my neighbourhood brewery, Duggan's (Parkdale). Good beer, good food - you should try it sometime :)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Indigo dyeing

Yesterday I took a class at The Workroom. I needed to take a brain break from school.

Indigo Dyeing
Check out the link to The Workroom class HERE. I would HIGHLY recommend taking this class.
For those of you who have known me for awhile, you may remember that I have taken natural dying and indigo dying before. I'd send you back to my past post to look at it, but all of the photos have disappeared off of my old posts :(

But this was much more in depth. The instructor, Julie Sinden was very knowledgeable. (go and have a look at her BEAUTIFUL felted hats here). Her dyeing blog is here -- Julie doesn't post on it anymore, but there is lots of interesting information.

Anyway, back to the class. I wasn't really feeling well this weekend, so I was a bit off my game (a lot off my game, actually)  and didn't feel like doing anything :( . And I don't really like tie dye, and I don't really like dark blue, lol -- so that didn't help. I saw a lot of what other people were doing and that will inspire me more at home.

We mixed our own jars of indigo and then made our own vats. (we also had the opportunity at the end of the day to make a "live" jar to take home. That is right up my ally -- fermenting, etc, but I was just too tired to do it). Here is my jar, in the process of turning to a yellowy green - which is what colour the dye is when it is ready. It truly is magical. You put your fabric into this yellow dye, and then when you pull it out, it chemically reacts with the oxygen in the air -- and the oxidizing colour goes from green to blue!

I did dye a big pile of fabric -- and I did a bit of shibori. I will like to experiment a bit more with clamping resist -- which was my favourite part of Glennis's class when I took it. but I just didn't feel like it yesterday. But I loved the results of what everyone else did in class! If you do instagram, check out #workroomindigo.
 And there are many photos on Flickr of past indigo class work!

I'll use a lot of this blue in some small wall-hangings that I'm working on (sand and sea).

Some of the pieces are also some antique napkins. I'll use them for sure in Nova Scotia.

I did a bit of stitching to the front of a yellowish tshirt/tunic that I had, but didn't wear. It's still kind of yellow and green, so I think I'll put it in another few dips of indigo to make it more... green and blue? I'm not sure if it is salvageable :) Unless I just keep dipping and make it more solid :) . I should have just dyed it solid to start with :)


I also did some stitching around the neck and armholes of this sleeveless tunic -- it was white linen. I'm happy with how this turned out. It will be a Nova Scotia tunic. I wear a bit of blue there :)

The next class I want to take at The Workroom is Visible Mending --you can see some photos in the flickr pool here. You can check some of the work out on instagram here too! 
 I missed the boat on the current offering of this class -- but I'm hoping that another one will come up -- in september or early fall.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories -- Dead Milkmen

I was surprised to find 3 Dead Milkmen tapes in my carton.

I saw them play (a long time ago -- maybe 27 years ago?) in a small venue in London (Ontario) -- Call the Office (which is still open and hosting live bands!)

I always liked Punk Rock Girl (their most successful single) -- but I never had the album that it was on ( Beelzebubba).

After playing all of these tapes, I'm keeping Bucky Fellini and East Your Paisley -- but tossing Metaphysical Grafitti -- it's too "produced" for me :)

No actual mixed tape with Dead Milkmen on it. Because no one else that I knew liked them! Well, my bestest friend and band watching buddy Miss Kitty Cara did, until there was an...incident.... at the Dead Milkmen show. And then she didn't like them. lol. Remember that Miss Kitty Cara? :)

I took the tape photo when it was sunny out, and I'm so happy that I did  -- BECAUSE IT IS SNOWING LIKE CRAZY OUT!!!