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!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories #2 - Jane Siberry

*Each weekend I will be sorting through my cassette tapes and justifying my reasons for keeping them, or letting them go. Please join me in my journey....

I had no idea that cassette tapes were making a comeback. I don't really think that they are. But there have been numerous articles lately about their re popularity. Really? Read about it here. Even Justin Bieber has released a recent album on cassette. Whaaaat?
I'm ignoring this new trend -- because as soon as I heard about it, I though "Maybe I should save these tapes that I'm culling?" NO NO NO NO NO!
Some companies are still making cassette players. Sony just stopped making the cassette walkman in 2010. I get that. I use them in my classroom. But let's not bring them back, ok? They deserve a natural death.

On the chopping block this week is Jane Siberry. (She was briefly known as Issa around 2006-2009). Let's see how she fares :)

I was introduced to the music of Jane Siberry in 1985 by my friend Miss Kitty Cara. We went to see her play in London (Ontario) at Althouse College. Her voice was like angels singing. It was a kind of  new music genre for me. At that time, I preferred (and still prefer), guitar driven music -- and less "produced" music. But something about Jane struck a chord in me :)

Here she is around the time I first heard her:

Here she is singing Calling all Angels with KD Lang in 2014

So, back to the tapes:

 We have The Speckless Sky and The Walking (commercial tapes). and Bound by the Beauty and No Borders Here are recorded onto a tape. It's my writing -- so I copied them from someone!
The Speckless Sky is my favourite of the bunch -- It's a keeper -- although one of the songs is all wonky and stretched out. I actually would replace it on cd, but it's not available - well, it is available used... from England.  Also not available on itunes  but it IS available on bandcamp :) via Jane's website. I think that I'd rather get a digital version and have the money go to Jane than buy a used copy.
The verdict:
I think that I'd play The Walking again, so Speckless Sky and The Walking will go into the keeper box. I like Bound by the Beauty too -- but I could live without No Borders Here, I think. Too bad that those two are "attached".  (I'm not actually throwing them away -- I just put them in my neighbourhood "Little Library" and someone takes them all.....). So I guess that I'll be keeping them all!
Not doing too well on this sorting, am I?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mixed Tape Memories

It's March Break! and it feels like spring! It's raining and miserable out :)

Lately, I have been puttering around my basement (cleaning, tidying, sorting, jettisoning, sewing). I listen to music on my basement stereo. When my cd player broke a few years ago (Denon! But it changes 3 discs, and that mechanism quit), I pulled a handful of tapes out of a carton and I have been playing the same few tapes since. Yes, my tape player (Nakamichi) still works. Beautifully. Does anyone else still have a tape player? Anyone? Bueller?

This week I have decided to sort my tapes. I have an unopened carton. I'll open pandora's box, and hopeuflly there will be some happy surprises. Get rid of the ones that I will never play again. While doing so, I have been reminiscing about the music, the mixed tapes, my youth.... I also have some blank tapes..... so maybe someday soon I will make a mixed tape. That only I can play :) I'm going to work from the top of the carton down in no particular order.

So, I guess that I've decided on a new blog feature. Weeklyish.

Mixed Tape Memories. 

I will sort the good, the bad and the truly awful. I might not show the truly awful.

First out the door are the 3 on the right. Fine Young Cannibals, The Pop /will Eat Itself and Andy Prieboy. I think that I got them all from "The Columbia House Record Club" You know, when they send you a whole whackload of tapes for free, and then they send you one every month that you have to pay for? Don't judge. That was the teenage me. 
Anyway, those 3 just had one song that I kind of liked back in the 80s... early 90s?
I thought that the Matthew Sweet tape would go with them, but after a play (because I am playing all of these tapes first- it seems wrong to just toss them) I thought that I might listen to it again :)

 The mixed tape is a bit of a mystery. It looks like my brother's writing -- but it is not his style of music at all.

 On one side is David Bowie's Let's Dance (I have the CD :)  The hilarious thing is that it seems to have been recorded over some classical music, because in between songs, you hear some faint music underneath the slight hiss of the recording.

The flip side is a true mix. The Smiths (I wasn't a big Smith's fan, and still am not). But I like most of the rest of the songs, however unrelated they are --Joy to the World by Three Dog Night; Should I stay or Should I Go by The Clash; There is some Ramones, Public Image Limited, then Wild Thing by Tone Loc (yikes!) (not by The Troggs which would have been much, much , much preferred),  REM, and then, oddly, Helter Skelter. Which gets cut off abruptly when the tape ends mid-song. 
So, despite The whiny Smiths, this mixed tape is a keeper -- because I will listen to it again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


My word of the year for 2016 is "possibilities".
I'm celebrating all of the things that could be. All the things that I will become.


There are so many things that I would like to do this year. Some I have already started.
I want to sew more.
I want to take more classes. (I miss Art Unraveled!)
I want to share more of what I am reading. (I'm working my way through the Governor General Award winners for 2015)
I want to can more. (and build a proper pantry)
I want to walk on a beach every weekend. Or at least most weekends.
I really do want to spend more time with friends and family.
I want to get even stronger!

All of these things are possible.

It's a definite possibility that I will post again this year :)

Happy 2016!