Saturday, 30 June 2012

YEAH - I'm on Holiday!!!

Wow! The craziest month of the year is over and I survived. Graduation, timetables, carnival, Play day, organizing the entire non-fiction section in numerical and alphabetical order and collecting books from students, oh right and teaching... we also held our garage sale which took time this month organizing and pricing.
The Condos where we want to retire to!
Sharon at the water's edge. The advantage of holding the camera- I'm not in the photo!
The boats with all their flags.

The pier.

I woke up early on my first day of holidays and Sharon and I went to Cobourg Ontario for the Waterfront Festival. There are 5 large tents with booths on both sides filled with crafts and artisans. I love vintage jewelry and handcrafted things so this is heaven for us. We did all 5 tents twice, had lunch (vegetarian roti) and then drove to Port Hope and walked around town. My feet are sore and we were so tired we took a nap when we got home. A really nice way to start our holidays.

As I was sitting drinking my coffee I read my blog list and I saw that SewCalGal had posted a recap of the month of June with Cindy Needham. Right Barb it's the end of the month!!! All I have to show for my Free-motion challenge this month are my paper doodling.

Still working on feathers, and my star for my quilt on my frame.
I loved working on the paper. It helped to calm me this month while I was stressing out about getting work done by the end of the month.

Zentangle 1 not finished.

My second zentangle. I really liked this one.
So I do promise to put this on fabric and post it here so you can see I did finish the fabric. I will continue the Zentangle type of drawing in my book it really is fun.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Tasty Treasures . . .

I'm always amazed at what treasures can be found where and when you least expect it!  When visiting my grocery store I always check out the reduced cart in the produce section.  I understand why some of the food is there, but every week we seem to find something that I would have bought at regular price.  Bananas always seem to be on the cart, beautiful barely ripe bananas and when they are a little too ripe they make the best banana muffins.  Today I found Broccolini at half price so I bought all four packages, 2 will go into tonights dinner!  I also visited our standup freezer in the basement to see what goodies are still tucked away.  Leeks!  All washed and chopped up for me!  Having a large freezer is great but sometimes things get lost so treasures like my leeks are a wonderful find as I thought we had used them all up!  Now on to dinner!

Chop the vegetables so they are about the same size depending on the pasta you choose to use.
olive oil
garlic scapes (from the farmers market)
salt & pepper
pine nuts
goats cheese
whole wheat egg noodles (but you choose!)

Put pot of water on to boil and then add pasta about 2 or 3 minutes before adding oil to pan.
Heat pan and add olive oil then leeks and garlic scapes until almost tender.
Then add the broccolini and zuchini and cook until tender-crisp, add spinnach and season with salt & pepper.  Hopefully everything, pasta and vegetables, will be ready at the same time!  Scoop out a cup of pasta water and set aside.  Drain pasta and add to vegetables or depending on your pans the other way around!  Add pine nuts and goats cheese - I use a fork to break it apart as I add it.  
We love veggies so this was chock full of them but add or delete whatever you like.  I can't wait until baby beet greens are available at the market, this will look so pretty with a green tinge let alone taste great!  Eat well!

Garage Sale Eve

Well it's the night before our garage sale. We have priced all the teaching resources, the picture books and miscellaneous things teacher collect to use in their classrooms. We put signs at all the local elementary schools last night in the dark! We advertised at work and on Kijiji. Now I realize we still have more things we could sell but we'll never get it all ready for tomorrow, so, we'll have to have another sale near the end of the summer. It would be nice to be able to park my car in the garage and not have to scrape it in the winter. Sharon would like to finish the basement and have me set up my quilting down there. We'll see how much money we raise. Looking at all the resources I now know why I couldn't afford to travel!!!

I think Barb has fallen asleep amongst the boxes of stuff to go to Value Village and to go back in the garage for our next sale,  so I'll finish this post!  First, let's make one thing very clear,  I did not say Mrs. Biggins (the quilting frame who has a bit of a size issue) had to be relocated to the basement! At least until we finish it :)   She's kind of growing on me!

Well the sale is over and we learned a lot!  

• 4.5 hours of sleep is not enough
•  1 coffee is never enough
• teachers are tired in June and don't want to go to 
   garage sales while they are closing down their classrooms
• check signs in morning as they tend to fall down overnight 
   when you live in the windiest part of the universe
• permanent marker isn't so permanent on sunny days
• prices are never low enough for some
• there are many characters out there in the world 
   and a lot of them came to our sale!
• there are some great folks in the world and it was 
   fun talking and meeting them!
• 1 coffee is never, never, never enough

 Any other ideas or suggestions for our next sale in August or September?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Feeling Hot Hot Hot!!! And a Sur-prize!

Today has been a scorcher in Ontario, Canada. We have lots of humidity! The temperature read 32 C but with the humidity it felt more like 42 C!!! Now I work in a Public School and just to set the record straight we don't have A/C in the building. Oh wait, we have an old, no ancient window A/C in the staffroom which only feels cool if you stand right in front of it. I work in the Library with no outdoor windows, okay no sun streaming in my windows but no breeze either. It is so stuffy it is hard to breath. Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. The funny thing is schools have a low temperature threshold so that if the school gets too cold we have to send kids home ie. the heat goes out in Winter. In the summer when our brains are leaking out our ears there is no magic number which allows us to leave early and pour ourselves into our car and slowly solidify by the time we are half way home. We are told to sit quietly and drink lots of water and stay out of the sun :0 Okay rant done for today.

Honestly this is what I looked like as I walked to my car at the end of the day.
 I arrived home and went to the mailbox as I do everyday and today I saw something wonderful in the mailbox, no not bills, a prize! Remember I mentioned I won a prize at Mamafairy sews, well it arrived today. I looked at the package and read the labels that were on it so it could come through customs and I saw fabric and... chocolate!!! Did I mention it was hot here? I was worried at first but Mamafairy had wrapped the fabric separately from the chocolate. When I picked up the chocolate (mmmmmm chocolate) it oozed in the package, oh boy liquid chocolate! I could snip a corner and just pour it into my mouth, I could drizzle it on cupcakes (or my finger), or I could put it in the fridge and wait like a good girl. Okay so I'm still waiting (to be good, the chocolate is hard now.)
You can't quite see how much it oozes, mmmmm!

Inside this lovely package was a beautiful handmade card with a little quilt sew onto it,

a really neat pincushion in beautiful colours,

I love the colours :)

and the polka dot fabric I just love so much.  

The colours of the polka dots go so well with some FQs that I won on eBay recently.

What a wonderful way to end a hot and unbearable day at work. Thanks again to Rachel at Mamafairy Sews for the wonderful prize. I hope to make it to 100 blog posts too!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

In the kitchen ...

Usually when we do our grocery shopping we don't go anywhere near the prepared food section but, last week we passed by looking to see if they had a salad for dinner, since it was already late in the evening.  They had a Roasted Corn and Quinoa salad that looked good so we bought a small container to share.  It was really good, but way too expensive and I like to know exactly what's in our food, so time for a little investigation (I love doing this!).  I spread it out on a plate and looked at all the ingredients and then tasted some more trying to figure out the seasoning and dressing.  So here's my version of Roasted Corn and Quinoa salad. 

As you can see from me recipe below I'm not much into measuring!  I tend to try to use up things in the fridge and use alternatives if I don't have an ingredient on hand.  So add what you like in the way of vegetables and start slowly with the oil and vinegar, taste, and add a little more if necessary.  I found that the next day I needed to add a little more vinegar to give it a brightness that had mellowed over night.  

I chopped up the peppers into really small pieces so that everything was about the same size.  Then I added the onion, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar and tossed so that everything was coated.  When the quinoa had cooled I added it along with the rest of the ingredients and after adjusting the oil/vinegar so my liking we ate!  So good!

This was so simple to make and so I made a bowl of it to take to a BBQ with vegetarians and meat eaters and received great comments!  This one will go in my recipe file for sure!  

red pepper
yellow pepper
spring onion
ground black pepper
sea salt (don't use too much as the feta is salty too)
olive oil
white balsamic vinegar (next time I'll try Champagne vinegar - really bright flavour)
raw sunflower seeds
feta cheese
corn (from our freezer - last year's crop!)

* I didn't roast my corn but put it in my cast iron pan until it was a little golden and the sugars were starting to cook, you'll know it's ready because it will started to smell wonderful!

If you make this dish let me know what changes you made to yours!  I'm always ready to switch things up!  

Saturday, 16 June 2012

What Do I Do With Stars?

I dug out a quilt top I finished over 8 years ago to see if I could quilt it on my new frame. I had been quilting wall hangings and lap quilts on my table top frame. This is different, this quilt is full sized.

The backing is brown (not that it looks brown in the picture) and I am using up the scraps I found in my scrap box, I can't believe they are still there, to make a straight line down the back of the quilt.
The real colour is darker.
I still need to sew these squares together and add them to the backing fabric.
I can't decide what to quilt on the blocks. There are 6 blocks across and 9 blocks down, each with a star in it. There is a patchwork of squares on the border.

The border is more yellow than it shows here.

I was thinking the yellow between the stars and the little squares could be a figure 8 shaped design. But I am stumped on the star blocks. I want to stretch myself and try something new. I can meander very well but I need to push myself to grow. I don't do pantographs very well yet. They look wobbly, although as Sharon says, I have been practicing on plain fabric with contrasting thread so they stand out, a lot! I tried some designs on my iPad to see what I liked before I started on my quilt.

Any ideas? Do you like one of these designs? Can you suggest a design I haven't thought of or know about? H-E-L-P!!!

Monday, 11 June 2012

In the kitchen . . .
Although I haven't actually posted much to our blog lately I have taken photographs and written my thoughts and ideas in my head ... I just haven't made it to the computer to actually enter them on to our blog!  I think having to many tech devises are making this a little more difficulty than I originally hoped.  I take photos with my iPhone when I'm out and about and in the kitchen I use my iPad but I can't use either of their to post to the blog so it means transferring photos, blah, blah, blah.  Now that our T.V. has been decommissioned my plan is to blog a few times a week.  Here are a few items that never made it to the blog!
First peas of the season, so green, so flavourful!

Fresh local asparagus!

Pasta with home-made cheese sauce with peas . . .

and asparagus :)

Sweet potato quinoa cakes from "how Sweet it is" one of my new favourite blogs.  Jessica creates the most wonderful dishes with lots of flavour.  Wait till I tell you about the Bourbon Brown Beans!  (still awaiting comments from the judges at work).  Jessica served her Sweet potato quinoa cakes with blackberry salsa but we had ours with asparagus and tuna steaks.  They are quick, easy and tasty.  They also make great lunch leftovers as they heat up quickly and don't need a bun or even messy condiments they are so good all on their own.

The recipe actually made 9 patties.

I added a little plain yoghurt but definitely did not need it.

A few days later our local farmer had the first strawberries of the season.  Last year the first few baskets purchased were not very sweet and didn't have much flavour.  I think warm/hot weather this spring and now the rain has made these some of the best we've ever had.  But before we can go wild with the fresh I need to find different ways to use up our store from last years stash in the freezer.  The yoghurt that we had been buying for the past couple of years has been discontinued at our grocery store so after sampling a few and trying to find something with a balance of fat and sugar, with taste and texture we came upon Liberte Organic Greek Yogourt (their spelling not mine!) which contains organic skim milk and bacterial cultures and that's all!  It's thick and creamy and goes great with any of our frozen fruit cooked down and added on top or to the bottom of the bowl, which ever is your preference!

Breakfast - Potato Onion Scones from Tyrone Mills, Bowmanville, Ontario.
I love my baking stone!  It stays in the oven and helps to cook food more evenly and thoroughly especially pizza and bread bottoms.

We buy our eggs from a house in Solina but don't know the name of the gentleman who sells them.  His chickens are free range and the eggs are some of the best we have ever had - bright yellow yolks with buttery flavour.  Our "Egg Man" sells on the honour system - a little fridge with the eggs and a tin box for the cash.  I love it! 
Farm fresh, free run eggs from our Egg Man.

Sunday mornings on a plate.

I splurged and bought myself an Emile Henry deep, fluted pie dish.  It's beautiful with a pie in it or on the counter with fresh fruit inside.  I love how a dish or cooking utensil can inspire me!

First pie in my new Emile Henry pie dish.

Vegetable pie

So now you know that I'm still around and that we aren't starving!

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Our dog has discovered a new skill. We recently had a Dappled Willow removed from our garden. It had grown well beyond the size it was supposed to. A garden designer and a tree expert both said it was the biggest one they'd seen. Anyways, after they dug up the roots and filled in the hole Poppy decided she would help dig the left over roots out for us.

Another day I was watering the grass and I left the hose on too long. The ground around our Maple tree was soggy. Poppy decided she would help out again. She looks very happy and proud of her work. If you look in the background you can see the hole in the grass (the first hole she dug was in the ground around the tree!)
She's smiling!

We had to hose her off before we could bring her in the house!

We planted a special apple tree. It has 6 different types of apples grafted to it. It is espaliered- horizontally grown branches tied to a frame.

I have a picture of a Clematis in our garden. I would have shown the lovely Peonies but the rain and wind got to them.

Taken with my iPhone!