A blog about my interests, which include crazy quilting and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend doings

We actually were away overnight which doesn't happen very often. We really can't leave Dad and the dogs for any length of time, but sometimes we can do one night, as long as we come home early the next day.

Anyway...we went to the 'One of A Kind' craft show in Toronto with our #2 son and his GF. It's the first time we've been able to go and it was great. Wish we could have had more than two hours to see everything, but at least we had an overview of what's there and we now know we'll be going again another year.

Two of the artists that really impressed me have web sites, so you can have a look if you'd like. Jamie Brick does the most fantastic sculptures using driftwood, old silver tea service pieces, and a bit of polymer clay for the details. His work is very unusual and very amusing too. You can have a look here.

The other one I fell in love with was a booth full of great little dolls. Kate Church does whimsical and highly detailed dolls. She also teaches classes at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts, but they are quite expensive by the time you are done. I think the week long class itself is $275 which doesn't include the supplies. Then you have to find a place to stay AND your meals on top of that. It would be a wonderful dream to be able to go, but totally out of my financial abilities. Plus which, her work would intimidate the daylights out of me!

There were a number of booths filled with tons of inspirational jackets and vests. Of course our time constraints didn't let me do enough snooping to see what was being done. What I saw sure looked fun though!

Maybe next year.....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sharing

There are several things I found interesting and thought I'd share them with you, because what I'm working on right now isn't showable until the recipients get them. In the meantime.....

1. My friend Arlee has written another of her monthly columns for MrXStitch and this time it's a very interesting article about Hippie Embroidery, which can be found here. I haven't thought about the fashion styles from the hippie days in ages so it was a nice trip down memory lane!

2. You have to see the embroidery pieces Karen of Contemporary Embroidery does! I know I've pointed you in her direction before, but she is worth visiting again (and again!!). Her work is exquisite and so different from anything I've seen.

3. I've pointed you here before too, but I wanted to mention again about the Decidedly Different Doll group on yahoo. If you're interested in doll making of any sort, come and check us out! More information can also be found on our blog here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sending out wishes.....

....for a very happy and safe Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ATC's and crayons

Today was our CQTeers meeting and, as always, I came home with some pretty cool atcs to add to my collection. This month our theme was 'artist choice'. The picture above shows what we did. The top two were by me; Sue did the one on the bottom left (encaustic); Kym the one in the middle (zentangle); and Irene the one on the right (a mini doll).

Sue taught us how to do encaustic painting using an iron and kids crayons (who knew!). I can see I have a long way to go with this technique, but it was a lot of fun. I have decided I need to invest in a thrift store iron with a solid plate. Mine has holes for the steam and, despite covering it with aluminum foil, seemed to have spots that didn't work so well. These are done on the cardboard which comes in packages of panty hose...it has a 'shiny' side which helps the crayon wax not to melt directly into the paper. Some of my experiments are below....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Still here!

I'm still here, but been running the roads (altogether too much for my liking!) for the past few days. I will be back to the normal posting schedule later in the week. In the meantime, feel free to chat amongst yourselves!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Internet connections

No picture again today, because it's been another of those non-creative days. I've been considering this post for awhile, so here goes.....
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I've been wanting to comment on how the internet has affected my life - especially the blogging world. I began this blog awhile ago at the urging of a friend. I did not want a blog; I did not want to be responsible; I didn't know what to write about; and all sorts of other excuses I can't remember now. She bullied me into it (and, after all that work on her part, she has subsequently quit blogging herself!).

Initially my blog for for myself alone. I never expected anybody to read it (with the possible exception of my kids and then only when I told them they had to). Suddenly I'm finding myself with readers - and more than one or two at that! How did that happen? What have I managed to find to blather on about that could possibly be of interest to anyone out there in the 'net world? It never ceases to amaze me.

I used (and continue to use) my blog mainly as a form of responsibility to myself. I try to do projects in order to have something to put up as a picture and/or post. It keeps me producing things because I know I 'need' to make that post every day, or as close to every day as I can manage.

Suddenly one person began reading, and commenting! I was blown away. This person wasn't a personal friend (who felt a certain amount of responsibility to read just because of the friendship). No, this was a complete stranger who felt moved to announce their presence and, wonder of wonders, kept coming back. Wow.

Then more people started making the odd comment and I got one of those sidebar 'things' that tells me where people are visiting from. Wow again. I've even discovered other blogs have posted links about me and people are coming and visiting from all over the world. Mind boggling!

I reached the milestone of a hundred posts, then two hundred and now I'm nearing a thousand. Who would have ever thought that would happen - certainly not moi!

There is another aspect to blogging that is the most exciting of all, and that is my being able to 'meet' other bloggers and start to share a bit in their lives and admire their art from a distance. I've taken part in some swaps and received some pretty awe-some pieces in exchange for something I have made. I've done some round robins with people I have met over the web. I've even won a few blog draws along the way.

I never cease to be amazed and humbled by the generosity of other bloggers. Just this week I received a wonderful handmade card (and atc) from one blogger and a package of ephemera from another. Another is sending me some art supplies to play with and another sent me that lovely doll head you saw a few posts ago. They send these things from the goodness of their hearts and expect nothing in return. It's amazing the community that can be built with people whom you've never met in person but feel that you've known over a cup of tea and cookies in your own kitchen. I never would have imagined what has come out of my little bitty blog!

It's a pretty wonderful community I've found and I'm SO glad I jumped in and began this journey. Here's to the future!
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And, yes, there will be a giveaway when I reach that 1000th post (probably sometime in the new year)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sinning - in the BEST way!

I know I promised this blog would not become a recipe blog, however, if you are a chocoholic like I am - you NEED THIS RECIPE!!!! Sinful, mouth-wateringly delicious, and most definitely orgasmic (sorry, but no other word describes it half as well). Mmmmmmm...

This came from the current issue of Kraft Foods 'What's Cooking' magazine...
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Peanut Butter Cup Pie

1 1/4 cups Oreo baking crumbs (we used no-name)
1/4 cup butter, melted (we used margarine)
1 pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Brick Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Smooth Peanut Butter, divided
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding
2 cups thawed Cool Whip whipped topping, divided
3 squares Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate

-Combine crumbs and butter and press into bottom & up sides of 9" pie plate. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup peanut butter until well blended. Add milk and dry pudding mix. Beat 2 mins. Whisk in 1 cup Cool Whip. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate.
-Microwave remaining Cool Whip and chocolate on High 1 1/2 - 2 mins. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after each minute. Cool completely.
-Spread chocolate mixture over filling in crust.
-Microwave remaining peanut butter for 30 sec. Stir and drizzle over pie.
-Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
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If you like Peanut Butter Cup chocolate bars you will be in love with this pie! Every mouthful is divine and elicits an involuntary 'mmmm' as you're eating it - guaranteed.

Enjoy and let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Answer to pie questions

A couple of people have asked me what Bisquick is. It's a commercial product marketed under the name of Bisquick and, I think, made by Betty Crocker.

However, there are homemade alternatives you can use if you are unable to find Bisquick in your area. Here are a couple of recipes....

#1
1/2 cup baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
9 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup canola oil
Sift the baking powder, sugar and flour together. Slowly add oil, cutting in with pastry blender until it looks somewhat like cornmeal. Store tightly covered.

The above obviously makes a large amount. The recipe below makes only 3 cups...
#2
2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
Follow the same directions as above.

Also, try Googling Bisquick alternatives and you should find several ideas there. Hope this helps!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A hedgehog? Who knew!

I know, I've taken leave of what's left of my brain with this one! However, there IS a reason why this little hedgehog got created. Gail added a wonderful pink flamingo to the Queen's journal and I simply HAD to add the hedgehog to go along with it. Hopefully you remember the story of Alice In Wonderland and the croquet match with the flamingo mallets and hedgehogs for balls?

Jack carved the little body and drilled lots of tiny (and I mean lots!) wee holes. I then cut some 'straw' from our broom and glued them, piece by piece, into the holes to create his 'fur'. Then he got a trim job and a face painting and he's done. The whole thing is about 2 1/2" in size.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Queen of Hearts has more!

...pages in her journal....
and more pages from her journal.....
and more.....
She has a huge diamond ring!
AND a pillow to sit her Queenly derriere on! Every Queen needs a soft place to rest. Perhaps if she has a nice pillow, she will be happier and not scream 'Off With Her Head' quite so much??
Yeah, I didn't think so.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

of heads and totes

Yvonne and I did a trade...one of her wonderful doll heads for one of my denim bags. I got the absolute BEST end of the deal!! Just look at this face. I can hardly wait to start making a doll to go along with it. I just hope I can do it justice!

As for the bag, I tried to make a 'doll' bag, but I can see my photo taking abilities aren't the best. Her hair is pretty much covering her face in the picture. Hopefully Yvonne will have better luck at photographing it. She is juggling..."Wife, Mother, Daughter, Artist, Self" which is a theme I have wanted to do for awhile. This was a perfect excuse! Thanks Yvonne!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Journal pages for Queen of Hearts

Here are two of the journal pages I've completed for the Queen of Hearts....

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dentists and other things

Today I went to the dentist. He is a nice guy. He has a nice office. He has a nice receptionist. He has nice shiny instruments. He has two dead flies in his light fixture.

I have a new filling. My new filling fills the big hole where the old one fell out. I have a big hole in my bank account.

My nice dentist told me that I need one, two, three caps. His nice receptionist told me each one would cost almost one thousand dollars.

I feel sick.

Friday, November 06, 2009

How about Chocolate?

No creativity again today, but lots of errands done. We got the paint for our bedroom after months of saving our Canadian Tire bonus 'money' (points, whatever you want to call it!), which is what Jack and I are giving each other for Christmas this year. It came on sale and, with all the 'money' we had, we managed to get all three cans for $20. Now we just have to come up with the oomph to actually DO the job!!

Pam asked me for this recipe so I thought maybe I would also share it here. My husband came up with this after experimenting for awhile. He finally has made the perfect version and I won't allow him to change anything! Let me know if you make it.

JACK'S IMPOSSIBLE CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder (mixed with an additional 2 1/2 tablespoons margarine)*
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup peanut butter (optional, if you are allergic)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2/3 cup Bisquick
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3/4 cup coconut (flaked or whatever you happen to have on hand)

Combine all but the coconut in a blender and blend on high for about a minute. Pour into a large greased pie plate. Sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until 'set'.
*the reason he mixes the cocoa powder with the 2 1/2 tablespoons margarine is to stop the cocoa powder from flying around the kitchen when you turn the blender on. You don't have to do this, but beware the fine powder that will coat everything and NOT end up in your pie!

Before you ask, no, this isn't going to turn into a recipe blog! I just had to come up with something to mumble about.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mumblings

I have no pictures. I have no productiveness going on whatsoever. Life is getting in the way of creativity at the moment and I don't like it! So, you shall be mumbled at tonight.
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Just got back from taking my Dad to the local clinic to get some prescriptions refilled. The joys of not having a family doctor are many, believe me. We have to line up outside and wait til the place opens, which isn't such a bad thing in the summer time, but not any fun at all in the winter or when it's raining. It's a delicate balancing act as to what time you should arrive...too early and the wait is horrible but at least you might get in. Too late and you won't have to wait outside, but chances are they will have closed the doors and won't be letting any more in. Such a joy when you figure that the poor people waiting outside in all weather are most likely sick and bound to get sicker out in the cold.

At least Dad got his prescriptions looked after and got two new ones for his bed sore, which, because he sits on his derriere most of the time, is ON his derriere. I never signed up for playing nurse and having to peer at my fathers backside on a daily basis, but that appears to be my lot in life right now. I'm sure he's just about as thrilled at the prospect as I am! Between shoving pills down the dogs throat, throwing drops in his eyes and now anointing human butts with various creams - I'm gonna hang out my shingle for medical care!
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Typed the 235th page of 'the book' today, so that should mean I'm a little over half way through. I know y'all were waiting with bated breath to hear how it's progressing. You weren't? Oh. Sorry.
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If you know anybody who is vegetarian (or anybody who isn't), here's a recipe we've tried a couple of times and really like....

VEGETARIAN SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup fine chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
- 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or plain ones work too)

Mix the above together and form into meatballs, approx. 2" in size, & put into a 9x13" pan.

Sweet & Sour Sauce:
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 3/4 c. apricot jam
- 1 c. ketchup
- 1/4 c. minced onion
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- dash of hot pepper sauce

Combine & pour over meatballs. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Our DIL-to-be is vegetarian and she really liked these too. Our chef son thinks the 'meat' part could be used to make lasagna, but we haven't tried it yet. We aren't vegetarians, but we do eat meat-less quite a bit.
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We had a skiff of snow on the ground this morning when I got up. I wanted to go back to bed and not look outside again until May!
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There, that's enough mumbling for one day. Can't risk boring my audience you know!! I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Queen of Hearts is here

The next doll, belonging to Jeanne, in the Art Doll Coolaberation has arrived. There was a great ruckus on my front step this afternoon, which set the dogs barking and the cats running for cover. I reached the door just in time to see the postal vehicle screeching away from the curb, obviously in a tearing hurry to get away. I didn't even have to look to know who had arrived! The Queen of Hearts was here and, in her usual demanding way, wanted OUT of her box to see where she was. I think part of the racket was the Simpsons telling her to shut up, but then again, maybe it was HER telling them to get out of her face. I can't say I wasn't warned about her, so I made sure to stock up on ear plugs and I have a padded room all ready.

The first thing she did when she popped out of her box was to look around my studio and she wasn't long narrowing in on the best seat in the house. She turfed my poor doll out and settled herself, all ready to rock. Now she's demanding a cushion to rest her royal bum upon!

She's a beautiful doll and I can't wait for her to tell me what she wants!