Thursday, April 30, 2009

Whirlwind Roadtrip

view of Manitoulin from goat island

Early Monday morning, Mark and I took the two dogs and drove to Manitoulin Island. His dad has been sick with a persistent, bad pneumonia for over a month and is back in the hospital. We spent a few days visiting with Marks dad at the hospital, and with his mom at home.

long drive there
(Lake Superior)

long drive home
(Lake Superior)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Road Trip & A Felted Wool Sweater Rug

Very early yesterday morning we drove to Thunder Bay with our female dog, Cali Coco Bean, Miss Bean. She had an early appointment with the vet to have her teeth cleaned, and possibly an extraction.  She was really stressed during our road trip, so just before we got into the city, we stopped at the Terry Fox Memorial, to let her out for a walk. 

Terry Fox Monument

Lucky for her, her teeth were just very dirty and she did not lose a tooth, yay Beanie! Her teeth are so amazingly white, they did an unbelievably wonderful job!
After a long day in the city, and a long drive home, it was nice to sit and relax and watch tv when we got home. While I was watching tv, I cut up the red sweaters that I wove this rug out of today. Gorgeous different rich tones of red!

felted wool sweater rug

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Asian Lentils with Potatoes and Chicken

The weather here seems to have turned back a little wintery, sure doesn't have a warm spring feel to it anymore with white flakes floating about. I am back to thinking about stews instead of summery salads. This is another family favourite that I have been making for years.

Asian Lentils with Potatoes and Chicken

1 small onion
4 medium potatoes
1 – 2 tbsp. sesame oil
6 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup brown lentils
1 bunch green onions
1 cup parsley
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Soya sauce
1 1/2 tsp. chili paste or to taste

Mince the onion; peel the potatoes and cut into 3/4” cubes. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the broth, lentils and potatoes. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer covered until the lentils are tender (45 minutes). Trim and thinly slice the green onion, and mince the parsley. Cut the chicken into 1/2 “ cubes, and drain the water chestnuts. When the lentils are tender, stir in the chicken, water chestnuts, vinegar and Soya sauce. Cover the pot and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Stir in the green onions, parsley and chili paste, Season to taste with salt and serve hot.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rag Rugs and Pebble Jewelry

I have been working on this rug for few days, it takes quite a few hours to cut up  fourteen sweaters. I finished weaving it early this afternoon, and got it photographed and listed into my Etsy shop just before dinner. I was not quite sure how the colours would work, but they came together very nicely!

handwoven superwash wool sweater rag rug

Lake Superior beach pebble, pearl and copper necklace

I  have been dreaming all winter of combining pebble with pearls. I am pleased with this new necklace. I picked the pebbles up at my sisters camp on Black Bay last summer. Red Rock red... it works well with the brown pearls and the gorgeous copper!

Experimenting with an Egg

I love oxidized metal, but do not like toxic chemicals. I had heard.. read that you can oxidize with boiled eggs, so I thought I would give it a whirl. I found a couple of pairs of earrings that I had not sealed in a ziplock bag so they had started to oxidize on their own. I used them in my experiment. This was one crushed boiled egg in a sealed container for a couple of hours... I am not really impressed. Yes the silver has oxidized but not enough and not evenly. Maybe two eggs and a longer wait time. I am impatient... maybe I didn't wait long enough.




for some reason the sterling chain did not oxidize as much as the ear wires
I will keep playing with it..

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Simply Home

 I recently shipped my first consignment order off to Simply Home, in the  Leslieville area of Toronto. She will be selling a combination of my rugs and jewelry! Here is a small sampling of what I sent to the shop.

copper, pearl, acrylic and glass necklace

green & blue felted wool rug

oxidized silver & vintage glass earrings

beige, green, grey & blue superwash wool rug

If you are in the Toronto area, stop by and visit Simply Home!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rose-Breasted Nuthatch

I was out by the dog kennel before dinner, watching Canada geese winging over the Lake towards town, such a thrill! While I was out there this brave little nuthatch kept coming by for a few sunflowers seeds. Pretty cute!

rose-breasted nuthatch

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coming in for a Landing....

Yesterday I went with Mark and the dogs for their afternoon walk. We went to the old airport and walked down the landing strip. Easy going for me... it hurts to walk these days.
Noje and Bean coming to get me!

galloping away
looking for adventure

me in stripes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taco Salad with Salsa Vinaigrette

On a warm spring day such as today, it is actually 16° C at this moment, glorious, I begin to think of salads, and salad season!
This is an old family favourite. It can be made with ground chicken instead of beef. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we all have!

Taco Salad with Salsa Vinaigrette

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp. oil
1 lb. ground beef
2 tbsp. tomato paste
corn chips
8 cups shredded romaine lettuce
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup, sliced green onion

1 large garlic clove
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped tomato
sprinkle of crushed chilies

In a large heavy skillet cook the onion, garlic, cumin, and chill powder in 1 1/2 tbsp. oil over low heat, stirring, until the onion is soft, add the beef. Cook the mixture over medium heat stirring and breaking up lumps, until the meat is no longer pink. Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring until the meat is cooked through. Let the mixture cool.
On a large deep platter, or bowl, arrange the lettuce, spoon the beef mixture over it. Arrange the tomatoes, the cheese and onions over the meat. Sprinkle the corn chips over the top, or just add to your plate when serving to prevent them from becoming soggy.
Make the vinaigrette: In a blender blend together the garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. With the motor running add the oil in a stream, and blend the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Add the tomatoes and chilies and blend until smooth.
Transfer the dressing to a small bowl and serve it with the salad. Serves 6.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Clouds of Sea Foam

It is not very often that I feel pleased with my photos of my jewelry. However this morning, I took this photo of a silver, glass and pearl necklace and I love it. It pleases me aesthetically!
clouds of sea foam

Aguasabon River, Five Mile...

Yesterday after our dog walk we drove up the mill road to the five mile, to see if there were any geese in the open water by the bridge. There weren't.. it is too early. There are geese flying but not many yet.

miss bean and noje admiring the view


unused snow mobile bridge

Monday, April 13, 2009

primarily.... front page!!

My treasury graced the front page this morning while I was occupied elsewhere, missed seeing it up there. Still a thrill! Congratulations to all the artisans involved, I hope it brings you hearts and sales!!

primarily... primary
front page collection!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Spring Tonic!

Okay, I know it is not the best photo in the world, but we saw our first flock of Canada geese before dinner tonight. After dinner we saw two more flocks winging over Lake Superior, then north overland. My spring tonic, they get me so excited, I ran outside and yelled welcome home to them.. spring has truly arrived today!
Canada geese
returning home!

Happy Easter!

birch buds

pussy willows

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Gorgeous weekend weather, though cool it feels like spring has finally arrived. Even the wind has calmed down enough for me to hang laundry outside! Happy Easter!
laundry on the line!
happy spring!
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday

I baked hot cross buns this morning, a yearly Good Friday tradition for me. I used a new recipe today instead of my usual. I found it in the new LCBO's Food & Drink magazine. Yummy!
Lemon Blueberry Hot Cross Buns

The recipe is for Lemon Currant Hot Cross Buns. I just made a few substitutions of my own. I used part whole wheat flour, and used my own dried blueberries instead of currants.

Lemon Currant Hot Cross Buns

2 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. bakers yeast
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups dried currants

Hot Glaze
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water

3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

For Dough: stir milk, sugar, yeast, lemon zest and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand and let sit for 5 minutes. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and currants and blend. Using dough hook attachment, knead until elastic, but dough still sticks to the bottom of the bowl (or if by hand, stir until stiff, then turn out onto a light floured surface and knead until elastic but still sticky). Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm draft free place for 1 1/2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into  12 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place in a greased 9" x 13" cake pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Bake buns for 40 to 45 minutes, until a rich golden colour. While buns are baking, prepare hot glaze.
For hot glaze, stir sugar, lemon juice and water in a small pot over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. When buns come out of the oven, brush glaze over buns. Let buns cool in the pan.
For icing: beat icing sugar and lemon juice together until thick and smooth. Pipe a cross onto each bun. Buns are best served the day they are baked.
Makes 12 buns.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Handwoven Superwash Wool Rugs

Who knew after all my ranting about superwash wool, that I would make friends with the stuff. I have been weaving rugs with very fine superwash merino sweaters. They are lovely, and make thick cushy, spongey rugs, I do love them. However it takes twice as many sweaters to weave a rug, as the fabric is so fine. This in turn drives the price up. Twice as much work involved cutting the sweaters, and then weaving, twice as many threads per inch, in comparison to the felted wool.
beige, gold, green, blue superwash wool rug

rust, brown, gray and black superwash wool rug

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Date Scones

I love scones and have quite a collection of scone recipes. This is an old favourite, very simple!

Date Scones

2 cups flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 chopped pitted dates (cut with scissors)
1/2 skim milk
3 tbsp. maple syrup
Butter for buttering baking sheet

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add dates; toss well. Combine milk and syrup. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just moist.
3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 4 or 5 times. Pat dough into an 8” circle on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Cut dough into 12 wedges, cutting into but not through, dough.
4. Bake at 400 F. for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I have accepted a consignment order with a shop in Toronto and have been busily making jewelry for it. I have the rug portion of the order complete. I will admit  I am nervous about it. The unknown, it is far away. I will feel better once the package reaches its destination. Here are a couple of the pieces I have finished.
pearls, glass & copper

a trio of pearls with silver

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spinach and Cheese Gnocchi with Spicy Tomato Sauce

This is an old family favourite, and I just figured out how to copy and then paste onto Blogger, with the very kind help of Lillyella. This will come in very handy for recipes as I do have the cook book I made for my kids online, not I will just be able to copy and paste instead of typing them out again. Much easier!
A friend who I have been cooking for while she is having cancer treatments requested this for her dinner tonight. Unfortunately I did not take any photos, I was too busy cooking. I hope you will enjoy!

Spinach & Cheese Gnocchi ( I always double this so these will be leftovers)

1/2-lb. spinach leaves (I use frozen, chopped spinach)
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup well drained ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
7-tbsp. flour and more as needed for rolling
3/4 tsp. salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook spinach in 1 tbsp. of melted butter over medium high heat, stirring often, until it is completely tender and the liquid has evaporated completely. It should be just sticking to the pan. This may take 10 to 15 minutes. Puree the cooked spinach in a blender or food processor.
In a fairly large bowl, combine the spinach puree with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, 7-tbsp. flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir the mixture vigorously until it is perfectly blended and lump free. Chill the mixture for at least 1/2 hour.
Using 2 teaspoons, form little gnocchi about the size and shape of a pecan. Scoop up a rounded teaspoonful of the mixture in one spoon, then with floured hands; shape into the oval shape. Drop into a bowl of flour. Roll it in the flour, dust it off, and put it down on waxed paper. Continue forming the gnocchi until all of the mixture is used up.
To cook the gnocchi, drop them carefully into a large pot of simmering salted water. Allow them to simmer (not boil) for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring them very gently once or twice with a wooden spoon to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot or to each other. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and drain them on a clean cloth (tea towel).
Pour half of the remaining butter into a large shallow casserole pan. Arrange the gnocchi in it in one layer. Pour the remaining butter over them and sprinkle them with the Parmesan cheese. Bake the gnocchi in a preheated 350 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are hot through and the cheese is starting to colour.
Serve with spicy tomato sauce. Serves 6.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-tsp. red pepper flakes
1 large can plum tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup dried basil

In a large skillet heat the oil. Add garlic and pepper flakes, cook until fragrant but not browned. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil and cook until thickened.