Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Felted Garden

I love building treasuries on Etsy! I of course am very pleased when my treasuries make the front page. My biggest hope in my treasuries is that the artisans in the collection sell their work because of the treasury. A couple of weeks ago, one of my collections made the front page, and six pieces of work from the collection sold, and some had other sales they said were a result of the list.
One of these very talented artisans is The Felted Garden. She contacted me to say she wanted to thank me by giving me a scarf. Her shop has been one of my favourites since joining Etsy. I admire her work. I tried a few years ago making felted wool scarves myself, and was not very successful. I appreciate her talent and skill.  We messaged back and forth and finally came to an agreement, we traded, I sent her a rug and she sent me this very beautiful scarf. Yes this is me, hiding behind the camera.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Blue Week!

We have had a sad week, we lost an old dear sweet friend! This is my tribute to him!

Midnight blue freshwater pearl, and lampwork bead necklace. Lampwork beads made by Etsy's Gillianbeads. The beads are spaced with olive green seed beads. It really is a gorgeous piece!

I love this rug, a combination of blue, brown and grey.
Recycled felted wool sweaters.

This rug is also gorgeous, I do love blue and brown together!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Needle Felting and Pearls

I have been playing with roving and my felting needles. I am getting pretty good at making round balls, for beads. I have combined felted beads with pearls to make this necklace. It is fun to combine fiber arts with jewelry, two different media.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake Recipe

I found this delicious recipe yesterday online, on the Joy of Baking website. It was easy to make, and I had just bought some fresh blackberries at our local grocery store. I thought I would share it with you.

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. flour

Cake Batter:
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9" springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

For streusel topping: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and ground cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

For cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and beat until very smooth. Set aside.

For cake batter: In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, and beat only until combined. Spread the batter onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan. Next, spread the cream cheese filling over the cake batter, Scatter the fresh berries over the filling and top with the streusel.

Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 to 10 servings. Enjoy!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Coffee Almond Butter Cookies

I have been baking these cookies for years, they are a family favourite. On my recent trip away my niece asked if she could have the recipe for them, so here it is Hil, just for you!

1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp. coffee powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the coffee, salt and almond extract.
Fold in the almonds, chocolate and then mix in the flour. (It will seem dry, I usually mix it together at this point with just washed hands.)
Roll dough into balls. Flatten with a glass bottom, or the heel or your palm.
Bake  for 15 minutes or until they are just lightly browned.
Cool on a rack. 2 1/2 dozen cookies, well depending on how big you make them.


Handwoven Wool Rug and Swap O Rama Rama, Fashion Show and Auction

I was contacted about a month ago by a group of students from the Crocker Middle School in Hillsborough, California. They are planning a Swap O Rama Rama, Fashion Show and Auction, on Earth Day, to raise money to support the Coyote Point Museum.

"At our event students will swap used clothes, work with talented designers and artists to recycle the used clothes into wearable art, and then showcase their creations at a fashion show. After the fashion show, prizes will be awarded and a silent auction held. This letter is to ask you to please donate a prize for the fashion show or an item for the auction. We scoured the internet for people who are recycling materials into incredible items. We love that your rugs include recycled materials, and shows people how incredibly cool recycling and conserving can be!"

I have decided after a little research that I will support their cause and donate a rug to them. I am just in the process of getting a package ready to mail out tomorrow. This is the rug I am sending. I did have a hard time deciding which rug to donate. I decided on this one because the students are in middle school, grades 7 and 8. I thought these bright colours were more appropriate for their age group. 

 It really is a gorgeous rug, and a fine example of recycling used clothing!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Lo Mein

Makes 6 servings.

3/4 lb. whole wheat or regular linguine or Chinese noodles ( I used whole wheat spaghetti)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/4 cup soya sauce, divided
2 tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp. rice wine
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. minced ginger root
5 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. hot Asian chili paste
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 lb. sugar snap peas, sliced

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until tender but firm. Rinse noodles with cold water and drain well.
2. Meanwhile, combine chicken with 1tbsp. soy sauce and 1 tbsp. cornstarch.
3. Combine stock, vinegar, rice wine, brown sugar, molasses, sesame oil, remaining 3 tbsp. soy sauce and remaining 1 tbsp. cornstarch.
4. Just before serving, heat vegetable oil in a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat. Add chicken and stir fry for a few minutes, or just until it loses its raw appearance.
5. Add ginger, green onions, garlic and chili paste. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add onions, carrot and red pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or just until vegetables wilt.
6. Stir up sauce and add to skillet. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add snap peas and cooked noodles and heat thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.


Needle Felted Beads and a Felted Wool Rug

I was away from home earlier this week, had a bout of cabin fever as well as an appointment in the city. Always nice to get into a little civilization, lunch out with my sister and niece, and then shopping!! I went to a friends knitting and weaving shop and bought  some new felting needles, some coloured roving and a few felting books. I love earthy tones but what a treat to use some colour. 
After a little playing around I finally figured out how to make a round felt bead(ball). I made quite a few in between my dinner prep on my last day at my sisters. Pure fun!!
Last night I was playing around with different ideas on how to use these little felt beads. This is what I came up with, the same idea as with my pebble necklaces. Funky little blasts of colour!! I quite like it!!

This is the last felted wool sweater rug I wove last week. Kind of the same colours as the runner I wove earlier, but this one has more grey in it. I used some of the leftovers from the runner. I must say I did get some gorgeous colours in this load of sweaters.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Falafel Burger (patties) Recipe

I made these for dinner last night, delicious!! Recipe from the Rebar cookbook.

1/2 cup bulghur ( I used couscous)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, finely minced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. chile flakes
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
6 cups canned chick peas
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 bunch parsley chopped

Spread bulghur out on a baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and grind throughly in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until translucent. Add garlic and spices and saute 5 more minutes.

If you have a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse them together to blend in  2 or more batches. Otherwise, mash the chick peas in a large bowl and mix ingredients in thoroughly with clean hands. Season to taste, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Shape the mixture into patties. Saute in olive oil until golden brown. Serve on wholegrain buns. ( I used pitas.)

Serve with cucumber, tomato, onion, red pepper slices, and taratour sauce.

Taratour Sauce

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. light miso
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. chilpotle puree

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Black, Grey and a hint of Red Felted Wool Rug

It feels as though it has been a very busy week for me. With Mark away, having to walk Tukker twice a day is an effort for me, but good for me. It does take my attention away from my work, that too may be a good thing. Give my body and my mind a rest.

This last rug I wove this week really excited me. I love the colour and the shades and tones of the grey, black and the little bits of red that intermingle through it. To me it is a thing of beauty. I listed in my Etsy shop yesterday, while it is getting views, no one has hearted it, that surprises me as I love it so much. haha, I am strange at times. I also think I should have used my felted red slippers in the photos instead of my blue Keens. 

A close up view of the rug.