Portobello Fajitas

From Vegan Planet.

Here's my workstation, carved out in a space in my breakfast area. The picture window looks out over a view of Puget Sound, with Vashon Island to the left and far in the distance are the Cascade Mountains.  I have a table in front of that window, so it's a restful view to look upon as I am doing the close-up hand embroidery on my Rose Challenge quilt.

I got the little storage unit from Target and have arranged all my bits and pieces  for the project in and on it.  I hung up my lovely threads on their binder rings to the top shelf rung of the unit. It's lightweight so it can be easily moved if I decide I want to sit somewhere else to do the stitchery!  But this little space would be hard to beat.   Plus I like sitting at a table to do the handwork. 

On the rose petal I made a running stitch in a thick Artfabrik thread and then went back with a whipping stitch to make a more textured outline.  I used a finer multi-colored thread to make a hand blanket stitch outline on the leaves and stem.

Thank you to Mary Stori and Carmen Rose for helping me with suggestions of how to get my photos where I want them in my blog.  I tried to rework my post of yesterday but it got totally crazy, so I started again with this post. 

Psalm 139:16 16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

I did not write this with the intent of blogging it. I just feel the need to share:

There are moments, when time seems uninhibited. Where I feel so connected, and yet utterly disconnected from the worries of fate. In those moments, my soul flies away, far beyond the limits of the cosmos, pushing the boundaries, opening my eyes to the unknown. Those times, on the boat, with the wind in my hair, as I can taste the saltwater on my lips, spraying mildly against my cold cheek, when I feel that everything can be right and that in essence, outside of time, it is right.

And yet there are times where my very being is torn apart, ripped from the inside out, jolted from its home, and my sobs do not do them justice. I will find my destiny beyond that feeling, but those moments, where all I can feel is the now, the presence of eternal fear and hopelessness, where the world comes crashing in on me, surrounding me on all sides like the fiercest storm in the midst of the Atlantic.

It is in those times that I feel like a lost island—adrift, almost—amid the towering waves and maniacally laughing sea around me. Every ounce of hurt and trial that my young soul has weathered comes back to haunt me, and the now is integrated with each moment of my life. All the misunderstanding, all the heartache, all the loneliness, all the frustration, and grief, and sadness, every moment lost or wasted, every unanswered question, coating my soul like cream cheese icing, spread thick and clumpy. I feel surrounded; unconsciously surrendered to hopelessness.

And yet I know I can and must rise up. I will soar. I will fly. I will mend. I will heal. Once again, I will feel the breath of heaven beneath my wings and the glint of sunlight upon my face. I will not be lost forever. I am loved. I am cherished. I know love. Each morning I will rise, I will sing, I will make music, and I will not be afraid to laugh and cry. There will be a time when I can take my stand, raise my voice, and change the world. I will have my chance.

But I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to listen.

But I will hear. I will learn. I will find my way. My way has been found for me. My way is not my way. I am me. I am who I am. I can change everything else but that. I will not give up. I will persevere.

I have hope.

Sheila – Feb. 28, 09


A bead with potential. Based on Indian beads made of threads held together with stitch. And I was inspired to have a go at this by http://travelfibreandthread.blogspot.com/ Guzzisue... and her spun items. Mine aren't spun it is only stitch that holds everything in place... I am working on a hairier one now and they go bigger and bolder! (This one is 3" long) Think jewellery.
I have the start of a resource library of prints on diverse materials and show here a couple of pages - details are too subtle to show on small images but each of the 6 areas on the image reflect the different applications of grounds and gels on those areas.
It is interesting that these images could also provide a further image for printing and stitching in themselves.

Some of the most exciting areas (from experiments on nearly 20 surfaces) are shown below. Click on the image to enlarge.

I have some problems with the climate in Calgary... my skin is suffering... one big issue is the way this effects my finger ends... such that I get splits developing.. A textile artist whose seams are coming apart.

I normally gravitate to stitching difficult fabrics that have been altered by heating, often plastics that have hardened in the process. This is extremely painful with spltting finger! But..
I find that the most appealing and original surfaces I have produced using the digital grounds are lovely silk, satin and thin papers so now I am excited to try to work in these materials and lesson the pain.

Next week I will work with metals and plastics and further the resource library.
The good news is Miss Ella is feeling much much better. She was even up dancing with the lemurs on her Madagascar movie -she likes to "move it move it" :) She even ate most of her breakfast this morning and ASKED for a coffee break, she hasn't done that in nearly a week.

Daddy and I, on the other hand, feel like we've been run over by a truck. I picked up a vapourizer yesterday doing groceries and that really seemed to help me sleep. I think I'll be having a nap this afternoon after Ella goes to sleep. One of us parents need to snap out of this and start functioning normally. Hard to keep up with a little one when you feel so blah.

Amazing Pro-Life Speech

This video was recently posted on The Rebelution, and I wanted to share it with you all. I think this is fabulous! It is a speech by a 12-year-old girl from Toronto, and she actually won her public school speech competition with this, and has already saved a child's life. Way to go Lia!

I hate being sick. I've come down with Ella's cold too, and it seems to be settling in my chest which means it will likely set off my asthma and I'll be coughing for weeks/months. Fun wow! Poor Miss Ella is really not dealing with this well. Her little lungs are so congested, she makes herself sick from coughing nearly every day. She spent the night on the chesterfield, so I could keep her upright. I spent the night, awake, on the floor beside her so I could haul her fully upright and keep her from panicing and making herself sick again. It really seems to scare her, she often starts crying and needs to be held for a while. Luckily, Mom was able to come over for the morning so I could get some sleep. I have yet to get dressed, guess I'll just stay this way for the rest of the day. Colin is starting to get sick too. I feel so bad when he does because he can't take any time off. I'm sure a pig barn with a bad cold is not a pleasant place to be.

I need to call my MIL and see if she has a vapourizer/humidifier. Hopefully that will help Ella breathe at night. That and she's on an antibiotic now. Poor thing has an ear infection too. If I don't feel better soon, I'll have to stop by the doctor's too. I have signs that this might be bacterial rather than viral. I have to keep on top of "little colds" because I can go from fine to needing the ER to breathe really quick. I just hope Ella hasn't inherited the "Johnson lungs". Mom's family has really bad lungs. Two of my cousins spent a lot of their childhood in oxygen tents for croup. The rest of us just get sick a lot. There's even been a couple times that my uncle, who works at the hospital, has been concerned that I had whooping cough -I sound that terrible. For now, knock on wood, I seem to be fighting it off. At least that's how I feel now that I had a good morning nap :)
My little visitor counter just passed the 1000 mark!  Thank you to those who come to read my blog. Right now I am in a flurry of Other Stuff.  Like my husband's birthday tomorrow, and helping the Elder Son by art directing the cover insert for his new album.

I have just finished doing a hand blanket stitch around the stem and leaves of my Rose challenge quilt with a variegated thread.  It's looking good and I'll post pics when I've done the first layer of embroidery on the rose bloom... then I'll be getting the other little elements in place, then to batting and more thread work!  And lastly I'll be putting a backing on and doing some hand quilting -- or maybe I'll get brave and work with my machine on that part!

Counter-cultural Moment

You know you've been steeped in counter-cultural ideas and don't cling to what society thinks is 'normal', when you have this conversation, as I did this morning.

Sheila: "...but I am a proponent of attachment parenting*..."

Nice lady: *giant pause and blank stare* "What do you mean by 'attachment parenting'?"

Sheila: "Well, for instance, if I had a two-year old, I probably wouldn't leave them in the care of someone I've never met."

Nice lady: *confused look* "Oh."

Crazy girl,

*Attachment Parenting on Wikipedia.

Topped with agave, from Vegan Planet.
[Happy Pancake Tuesday!]
"I spent so many nights/thinking how you did me wrong/ I grew strong/I learned how to carry on"... "I will survive/as long as I know how to love I know I will stay alive/I've got all my life to live/I've got all my love to give/and I'll survive/I will survive"

Actually we had a fabulous weekend, lack of sleep due to Ella's bad cold notwithstanding. My Grandma had a really bad cold too and was miserable -at least I don't have to feel guilty for taking Ella when sick. We had a really nice time at the birthday party. As usual Ella played with the kids as if she saw them all the time. It amazes me how she gets along with near strangers. She sure doesn't get that from me. I am soooo shy. "How shy am I?" -I'm so shy I haven't called my newish neighbour and invited her to "tea". I've met her husband, they homeschool, and have a bunch of kids, just the kind of friend I need. But I can't work up the courage to pick up the phone and call. Would it be too weird if I sent a real invitation?
Meanwhile, back to the weekend. My perm turned out beautifully. It always does, that's why no one but Jane touches my hair with chemicals. Colin was really surprised and loves it. Ella's so adorable, when she saw it she says "Mommy your hair so pretty" :) It's amazing how it doubles the thickness of my hair -I love it.

I now have a new favourite wool store. The new one in Bowmanville has such beautiful wool. Sock size too, so many stores seem adverse to carrying the thinner wools. I have such a hard time finding nice 3plys. I bought a couple balls. I could spend a lot more, if I had it.

. We hit a few stores in Oshawa that we just don't have around here. Went to Chapters and was disappointed, they had nothing in store that I was looking for. Their children's books seemed very expensive. That's why I usually order from Amazon! We went to Fabricland too. Jane has asked me to make her new granddaughter (not here yet) a coat and hat like Ella's. I was lucky and was able to find just the colour baby cord that she wanted. 75% off doesn't hurt any either.

The visit with dad went well. Ella's so adorable how could anyone not love her? :) I think dad might have actually decided to grow up this time. We'll have to see. It's up to him now. I told him they would have to come up here next time because I don't know when I'll be back down.

More flutistic concerts!

So...today was another flute concert! It was my trio with Jen and Marianne, and their quartet and Marianne's flute choir. Quite lovely. :-) It wasn't perfect, and the turnout was small, but I suppose you have to build up an audience in a small town like this. Here are a bunch of pictures! (Only three of us are pictured, except for the one of me chatting; that's Christine. She also performed. Cindy is missing)

Jen, Me, Marianne


Here's a detail of a smashing Academy Awards-themed quilt my friend made and gave to me me a few years back.  We actually booked a local hotel so we could have our bash with the appropriate snacks and, as you will notice, our usual tipple...Vodka Martinis.  Heavy on the olives on the side please!  We are big on the Oscars. That particular year we challenged each other to make a quilt for each other. I made her a quilt, which I don't have a picture of, using photos of the posters of about 12 famous years of Best Picture printed out on my ink-jet printer.  My quilting motif was the shape of the statuette.  Gone are the days for me of the martinis, but I will have this quilt on my lap this evening. I have a hand-painted martini glass with various Hollywood and movie symbols hand-painted on it that will be filled with Diet Coke....plus I have a box of low fat Cheez Its at the ready. This year, whoever gets the most awards correct gets to choose something special to do!
PS My friend is the best hand applique artist!
So here's the first Baguette!  Just tasted a bit off the end, and it was really good.   No problem with using the pizza peel to tip it onto the baking stone and  filling the pan of hot water in the oven.  I did have to cook it a bit longer than the "about 25 minutes" it suggested in the recipe.  I read many of the other recipes and there's a mess o'trouble to get into.  Fun to know that I have a container of dough just bubbling away in the fridge for the next attempt.  Might have to try a Batard shape next...

Featuring a from-scratch Vegan Bechamel sauce with NO pseudo-dairy!
From Vegan Planet.

Threads and Breads...

You saw what a mess my threads were in.  So yesterday I spent some time organizing them a bit.  I bought two boxes of binder rings from Office Depot.  Each box had three sizes of rings inside.     Following a nifty method that Judith Baker Montano demos on her DVD, I set to work to organize them all.   If you do venture to Jude's website you'll see her standing in front of her wall of threads.  Yes, a whole wall of threads in her gorgeous studio in La Veta, CO, all similarly stashed on various sizes and types of rings.  She promises that you can just get one strand of thread out from the knot you make through the ring, and be ready to either split the thread, or just start embroidering.  She's been collecting threads for ages, so I don't feel too bad to have such a comparatively small stash of embroidery threads ... so far!  I need to watch more of the DVD to see how she makes some of the cool stitches she demos -- and there's a bunch of them, if you are curious.  I love her books on stitches, but it's fun to see and hear her demo and talk you through each one!   

Yesterday my oven stone arrived!  I have just made my first batch of artisan dough from the book pictured above.  I'd better go and check it out.   It's much gooier than the Almost No-Knead recipe.  I made enough dough for 4 loaves.  You can leave this dough in your fridge and just cut off grapefruit-sized gobs of it to bake when you feel the need of an artisan bread fix.  I wonder if it would work in the Dutch oven.  But first I'm going to do just what the book says! I sure hope I've got this dough in a big enough container. It says to leave the dough overnight so it's not so sticky to work with the first time you try the recipe  Sticky?  Yes it is.  But very holey - as far as I can see through the sides of the plastic container especially purchased for this job.  

Tomorrow I'll be trying my hand at making a Baguette!   Ooh la la.  Start the accordion music, maestro, s'il vous plait!  I have visions of cornmeal flying everywhere, being too tentative about slipping the dough off the pizza peel onto the very hot stone, then making a steam bath in a broiler pan in the oven.  Danger, danger alert!  I hope one pair of hands will be enough for this adventure!  "Clear the decks, Moxey's on a bread baking rampage!" will be the orders in this house when I get to that point!   Of course I could always ask for help, I suppose.  But what's the fun in that for such a delicate, dangerous and - more importantly - potentially delicious mission ...

A touch of New Zealand

Above is a piece collaged from 3 photo images taken in New Zealand... I think the final piece gives a flavour of what we got up to there along the coast. Next week I will be printing onto surfaces and will try these new images - should be fun to get something going with stitch at last...

Maybe I can even get started today but I have a shocker headache which could be something to do with a weather system a Chinook over Calgary... on the other hand one of Aliya's fellow students posed the question "Does a Chinook cause migraine?" at the science fair and the scientific conclusion was "No" in which case I just have a headache end of story.

Below are windows taken from this one and the previous study after working more into it. There is a lot of texture that doesn't show on the small image (click to enlarge) I am interested in doing these as a series or triptych +1 (what is that called). So I think I will go and prepare a surface for this.


Palm Garden View

High Fiber Diet...

Now these are the kind of fibers I like! Luscious Artfabrik hand dyed threads in different thicknesses.  I couldn't wait to start testing and playing with them on my Rose piece!  I started a hand stitched buttonhole stitch in a multi colored thread on the stem, and then switched to a variegated green for the leaf. Not all the way sure if the multi colored thread is working. Fortunately I only did a bit, just for a little test drive.

Half way through this "testing" I remembered I had another box of hand dyed threads stashed away.  I found those and now might have to have a whole 'nother think about thread colors and this quilt!

I also had some fun stitching some very free form stitches on the little squares underneath the rose stem.  I'm happy with those.  

I have a variety of embroidery needles at the ready, including a package of the Clover Japanese needles used for Sashiko.  These have very sharp pointy points and are great for the thicker threads.

From ladyvegan.blogspot.com.

A Little About Me: a note to all blog readers

Hello out there! I've just noticed recently that I am doing what I've always done, and that is coming off too strong, too emotional, etc. What you may not know, is that it's just who I am. :-) I do my best to stifle the bad parts, and only highlight the good, but you may have noticed that expressing deep emotion (tone of voice, facial expression, etc.) is really hard in writing. :-)

So let me explain a bit about me and my blog posts. Hopefully you'll be able to understand them better afterward. :-)

I wear my heart on my sleeve. Believe it or not, I am a very emotionally sensitive person, and I cry at the drop of a hat. In fact, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably today, with no one in the house, simply because I was a little frustrated and stressed about a certain musical thing. Everything I say is from my heart, and the thing with that is that my heart is exposed and very tender. Please don't break it!

I get angry. Anger, actually, isn't necessarily a bad thing! When I get angry, I end up wanting to change things, and I usually do, or at least begin to. That's when my most vehement, seemingly one-sided posts get written. Usually I actually do have evidence, but I feel so frustrated and/or excited about a certain topic, that I don't show much of the other side. Feel free to ask me to give more info if I seem one-sided!

I am wild and free. I go dancing through fields, sit on rocks at the beach for hours, dance around my room, and go for walks in the forest. So does my soul. It is at times like these when my most vibrant, beautifully-coloured posts get written. I feel peaceful and blissful. The thing is, it's also really easy for me to come down off these 'highs'. A negative word, an untoward thought, anything, will send me in a downward spiral.

I am excited about learning and controversial topics. Bet that doesn't surprise you! I love to research all sorts of controversial stuff, from homebirth to vegetarianism, to natural building, unschooling, and intentional communities. Go figure! I may post about these things, and I know that many of you will disagree, and that's fine. A lot of people do. Just remember that I spiral downwards easily. :-)

I love to laugh and be silly. As much as I love to cry on rocks at sunset, while dreaming up my life's plan to live self-sufficiently, I also love to just be goofy! I tickle my Mum, I laugh out loud at awkward moments, I giggle uncontrollably. The dog makes me chuckle, just by looking at her, and dressing up silly and doing jumping-jacks is definitely not out of the question. This is the girl who dressed up the cats and pushed them in strollers, and dressed up incessantly as a little girl.

So that's me in a nutshell. I hope this helps you to understand me and my sometimes rather crazy posts. You'll have to just take me as I am. :-)

What about you? What makes you you?

Sheila Christine
I just managed to print the first few lines of my Robert Burns poem onto some untreated fabric. I spent ages making sure the label would be legible. Sadly with the new font I bought, it was hard to read.  However, little did I realize that I had a cool font ("Eccentric") already loaded in my computer that had a similar period feel and that seemed to work OK.  I ironed freezer paper onto the back of some Artfabrik, pushed the print button and out came this label looking deal.  Then I let it sit a bit before pressing it to set the black ink with heat.  Once I've decided where and if to put this on the surface of my quilt, I'll take a picture and post it.  I do have the rose and stem fused down and plan to do some handwork on that first before adding the other elements.  Might even have a go at a tiny  machine blanket stitch around the edge of each shape.  But I will practice first, that's fer sure...I think Ricky Tims wrote an article about that blanket stitching in a magazine I saw recently.  Maybe it was Quilting Arts.  I'll have to find my copy.

This is the totally delicious Almost No Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf which I baked in a regular baking tin - following the recipe from Breadutopia. 
It slices really easily when tipped over on its side, and I got really wafer thin slices this morning -- very English of me. Ancient memories of my late mother spreading butter on an uncut loaf before cutting thin slices of bread.  All I needed was cucumber to whip up some cucumber sandwiches.  But cucumber and me don't get along any more.  I love it but it doesn't love me.  Digestive issues!  

Recipe idea for Cucumber Sandwiches:  Soak thinly sliced cuke slices in apple cider or fish 'n' chip vinegar with a good dash of pepper and salt. ( Note:  If you use the regular big seeded cukes, peel them first.  If they are the "English" type cukes, I'd leave the skin on.  It looks pretty and doesn't taste bitter.)  Leave to soak for about 30 minutes.   Let most of the vinegar drain off the cuke slices. Make little sandwiches for teatime with thinly sliced whole wheat bread, spread lightly with softened butter, pile on a little heap of the vinegar-soaked cuke slices. Cut these sandwiches into into little triangles.  Some people cut of the crust off the bread if they are wanting to be fancy, and some people cut these sandwiches into long rectangles.   And others don't bother with the fancy shape cutting at all! And don't forget to serve a decent cup of your favorite tea to sip while you eat your sandwiches. (Note:  using butter on the bread helps soak up any excess vinegar from the cukes.)  Another variation would be to spread whipped cream cheese instead of butter -- you can do anything you want!   For any Brits or Canadians, I'll bet they've all tried a touch of the love-it-or-hate-it product Marmite on a cucumber sandwich, too. 
I found another stop to add to our weekend. My friend Petra, who's B&B we stay at when we're home, told me about a new wool store in Bowmanville. Hurray!!! Yeah, I know, like I need more wool. But you know what they say "she who dies with the most wool/material wins" :) Actually, I've been working through both of my stashes.

I'm going to be doing my bit for the economy this weekend. Speaking of the economy, I sometimes feel like the media is deliberately trying to turn this downturn into a recession/depression and won't be happy until they do. I know there are people out there that have lost their jobs and are really in a bad place -no irate emails please. But I'm talking in a more general sense. Check out this website. It's called Living on a Dime and is full of great information on living well , frugally. Tawra often makes very eye-opening observations (especially Feb 17), especially when people/media start comparing today with the Great Depression.

That said, I do agree it's time to reign in society's out of control spending. But more importantly, we have to stop supporting China, India, Vietnam, etc's economies and support our own. We need to "just say no" to imported junk and get North American manufacturing going again. I know this won't be popular, but I really think unions have outgrown their usefulness. They expect unrealistic wages and benefits, while protecting worker jobs whether they actually do their work or not. It's not the early 1900's when workers were abused/misused and even endangered. We have labour laws that can protect workers. There are still dangerous jobs still, but most of those aren't unionized anyway. I also think all governement employees, the big people (mayors, MPs, councillors, etc) should take a giant paycut -like in half. The money they get paid and the perks they get are absolutley ridiculous.

Guess I'll get off my soapbox now :) It's just frustrating to see what auto guys get paid for doing jobs that allow the to read/play cards for most of the day -I know what I'm talking about I have friends and family in that industry. I'm not saying I want everyone to be poor, but it's hard to hear about all the raises/bonuses, etc paid when farmers dream of making minimum wage!

Old Pain and New Beginnings

Big plans this weekend. Mom, Ella and I are headed back to Bowmanville for a visit. It's my sister's birthday on Friday. Mom's family have 7 birthday's in February/March so they have always had one big party. It'll be great to see the family again. I miss the family b-day parties, with 5 kids and 10 grandkids and 3 great-grands, we had a party nearly every month. I try to get Colin's family together, but it's only his immediate family that get together and there's not that many of them :)

I'm treating myself (it will please Colin too). I'm getting my hair permed. I love my hair when I have a spiral perm, it makes it look so much thicker and healthier -right now it's so straight and fine (luckily I have lots so it's not thin too). But I only trust my hairdresser at home to touch my hair with chemicals. She's very reasonable, especially with the amount she has to use for my length of hair. Mom's paying half as an early b-day present and my GST cheque is covering the rest. Ella wants a "hair cut" too, so I'll get Jane just to give the ends a little trim so Ella doesn't feel left out.

It will be great to see my sister and other family, we're even going to get to go to my church in Toronto. That will be wonderful! It's the stop we are going to make on the way home that I'm aprehensive about. We're stopping in to visit with my dad and step-mother. I won't go into too many details, let's just say I didn't have the happiest of childhoods. Dad was a closet alcoholic and verbally/emotionally abusive. We were lucky with the drinking though. Mom nearly left him when I was 5 (oh, if only she had-but nice families didn't get divorced in the 70's) and told him after that, that she wouldn't tolerate drinking at home. So all of his drinking happened at friends/families/parties. A great embarrassment, but at least we didn't have to deal with drunken rages and such as you see on tv. Though how he never killed us driving home I'll never know. But on the other hand, his not drinking at home certainly made his emotional abuse harder to "explain or excuse". No one knew what was going on, not even the family. There were times I used to wish I could make him mad enough to hit me. Since I bruise really easy, it would make a good mark and then I would have proof of what was happening and could get us some help. The really bad times would make me wish he would plow the car into one of the cement bridges on the way home. It's a good thing I have been a Christian for all my life and that I have such a wonderful family because there were also times that only the fear of never seeing them again was all that kept me here. Mom finally had enough back in 90 (their 20th wedding anniversary). I've tried over the years to give him a "second chance" only to end up in tears. I really get tired of hearing how it's because of the way "I treated him" that he treated me the way he did. I mean, what terrible thing did I do when I was 3,4,5 to be treated that way??? It was so bad that my sister really has no memories of growing up (pre-16). That was how she handled it, she blocked everything out -that and I sheilded her from all I could, like a good big sister should. That makes me so sad, because we lost so many relatives in those years who loved her so much and she doesn't remember them.

I haven't seen/talked with dad for nearly 6 years. The last time we saw him was the day after we got engaged. It was one of the brief good periods we were having so I took Colin up to Peterborough to meet him and my step-mother (who I like a lot) and to tell him our good news. Well, you should have seen his face when we told him (I wasn't looking). Colin said he's never seen anyone lose all emotion and feeling from a face. He barely said two words for the rest of the visit, if not for my step-mother's interest, it would have been horrible. It was as if he couldn't believe anyone would want to bother with the likes of me! Even after all that I was going to offer the olive branch and invite them to the wedding (my godfather was already giving me away). But then he starts shouting off his mouth and saying things he shouldn't, like always, so we ended up scratching him off the list. Well when he heard that, he said that since "the church was a public building he could come and there was nothing we could do about it." He seemed to forget he wasn't just dealing with me anymore, Colin was furious. Mom and I were so afraid he would show up drunk and ruin everything, Colin was afraid he would slug him (even though he's not a violent person) His mom and mine went to the ministers involved (wedding and reception at two churches) and they wrote letters saying it was a private event and he wasn't welcome and would be arrested. The mothers went further and talked to the OPP of the various locations and they offered to send an officer by the wedding and reception if it were a quiet Saturday. I ended up getting dressed at the MIL's just so dad couldn't find us. It was kind of funny at the reception to hear family talking about the police cruiser going by "looking for speeders" :)

We haven't heard directly from dad since. I've heard things from this person and that. Mostly comments that show he's his same old self. Just recently he phoned my sister to say he had some stuff that belong to my great Aunt Ella, for whom Ella is named. And he wondered if I would want it or would "throw it out" -which proves how little he knows me. He also wondered if I would give him another chance. I think he's finally come to the conclusion that my sister and her husband aren't having any children and Ella is going to be the only one. He sent a nice letter a while ago, saying he realized the mess he made out of everything and would like to see us. Since we were going to Bowmanville anyway, I decided we might as well stop by. It's on the way home and if he get's stupid, we can just leave. So it will prove for an interesting Monday. This is his last "last chance". If he hasn't changed then I'm not exposing Ella to his poison. I just wish Colin was coming with us. But at least Mom will be there as a buffer/witness. Though he will likely have his good father/grandfather act going, that's how he usually works -until you get to know him.

So please keep us in your prayers for Monday, we'll need them :) I'm keeping an open mind and hoping for the best. After all, a child can't have too many grandparents. But to be honest, I'm not holding my breath.

Sorry for the watermark - I am just experimenting with copyright protection
I know many people out there are designing using the computer but I don't think I have ever given myself total permission to do this, feeling that it is somehow a travesty not to use paper and inks/crayons/paint... but I guess I have been heading this way for years and it is time I admitted it.

I remember the day a photographer friend of mine moved over to the digital dark side, and I guess the transition was as big a one for her as this is for me...

So I post here a couple of images I have worked on during the past week as I move along the road to printing on diverse materials (see previous posts)... It is going to be very exciting trying these images along with the shibori methods that I have been working on.
Just thought I should share a few basic assumptions for my recipes.

flour is all-purpose, unbleached white, unless otherwise noted

chocolate chips are semi-sweet

t means teaspoon

T means tablespoon

c means cup

liquids are measured in glass measuring cups and dry in metal measuring cups

If I think of anything else or if a recipe puzzles you, please let me know and I'll explain it here.
I had a nice quiet Valentine's Day planned for my Sweetie and me. Grandma had Miss Muffet sleeping over until Sunday. The only thing we had to do was go to a potluck/annual general meeting for the Ottawa Valley Food Co-op. It's an online group of Ottawa Valley farmers/producers. It's amazing the variety of things you can order. Order week is the second week of the month. Then on the third Saturday of the month, we producers take the orders to Pembroke where they are sorted and delivered to a variety of central locations for customer pick-up. It's surprising how far our products go, there is such a demand for local stuff. We've belonged for nearly a year, check us out here, it's a good overview of our farm too. I need to get a new picture, that one is nearly 2 years old, but Ella looks so cute. Maybe when it warms up some we'll try for a new Ella/piggie picture.

Back to my Valentine's day. We had fun at the potluck, it's good to talk with the other OVF people, we really don't know them. Most of the food was good. I made a marinated shoulder roast. Then the meeting started. It went on and on and on! It was 6 before we got home, Colin still had to chore. So much for my romantic supper and dessert I was going to make. We ended up with leftover pork and 5 minute rice when Colin finally got in for supper at 7:30. By then we were tired and I had a headache, so we just watched a dvd (Grapes of Wrath) and went to bed early. Not exactly what I had planned.

We've both been made board members for the OVF. They have a regular meeting/potluck coming up in March (if they can ever agree on a date) I sure hope it's shorter than the AGM.

Here's the marinated pork recipe, mix all this in a zipper bag and put in the pork roast the night before for best results. Though it's yummy done this way just before cooking too.

6 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp ground pepper 2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika 1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp thyme 3lb pork shoulder roast

Take from bag and put in roasting pan, do not cover. Roast 350F for 30 minutes a pound, or until meat thermometer reads 165F.

Had I been home in time, I would have made my Grandma's chicken cacciatore for supper. It's the first meal I made for Colin when we were dating. It needs to simmer most of the afternoon.

Chicken Cacciatore
3lb chicken pieces, we use thighs 1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced salt & pepper, to taste
28oz stewed tomatoes 28 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine 1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf

Brown the chicken in a little oil. Add everything into a dutch oven. Cover and simmer all afternoon until the house smells wonderful :) Don't use a crock pot, the sauce doesn't reduce and is too runny. If you really want to do this "old school" serve with Italian/French bread, green beans and roast potatoes -yummmmmmm!

Clearing the Domestic Decks

Had a really old fashioned Monday.  A bunch of laundry, grocery shopping and trying to prep some meals for the next few days so I can go full tilt on the Rose challenge quilt. 

At today's Monday Library Quilters meeting, I got validation that I could print onto fabric from my inkjet printer if I printed with black ink, without having to treat the fabric with the Bubble Jet Set stuff.  So now I'm thinking I need to type the first verse of the poem out in the lovely Willow font and print that out on some blue fabric to see if I might want to add that as a design element...

I'm usually in such a hurry to get things done and this is a new way for me to approach a project. I'm  taking time to try different things.  Not really agonizing over each bit, but getting quite immersed so that time seems to stand still while I am working on this piece.  Oh the zen of it all!

I've even got a loaf of Almost No Knead Whole Wheat bread rising too... so that's enough with the food and domestic engineering.  Tomorrow I plan to nourish my soul...

A Valentine's Day surprise from the husband.

Just a Breath

Life. Big word, isn't it? Or is it? The circle seems so endless, and yet, like just a breath, a moment, a mist. It is just slipping through my fingers.

You know, I've been reading in Ina May Gaskin's book, 'Guide to Childbirth', and reading many, many beautiful birth stories, feeling renewed and empowered, so blessed to be a woman, and one day, if God wills it, a mother, to harbour a new life and bring it into this beautiful world. Then I went to a choral workshop yesterday, with the Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, director of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, an Afrocentric professional chamber choir from Ontario, he was talking about these amazing black sermons that R. Nathaniel Dett had put to music for choir, and he spontaneously began preaching to this workshop of 100+ people, the creation sermon from this series, and he spoke with such amazing fervency, of this incredible God, bringing the entire world into existence, and then at the concert last evening, they performed the sermon about death. It spoke of a death, and God telling the brother, sister, and husband left behind not to weep, for 'sister Caroline' has been taken home, and is resting in the bosom of Jesus. The whole first half of the concert put death in such a beautiful, positive, refreshing light, that suddenly, I didn't mind if I died right then and there at the theatre.

Birth and death. Such extremes, or so it seems. Perhaps we should question that, though. I have been recently reading all these little surveys and quizzes that come up on facebook, and seeing Mariah's Mum and older sister talking about their children, and watching the responses from other Mums, how it seems like the lives of their children just slip through their fingers, and no matter how hard they try to capture every minute, they keep growing, slipping through their fingers all the time.* "What was the best feeling in your life?" The question, loosely quoted, asked, and the response from both Mums was "right after birth". What is this thing, this life, that causes such joy, and such heartache?

I dream, and think, and find myself staring at the stars, thinking of the billions of others who stare up at those stars and have all through history, and all of a sudden, I feel so incredibly small, and yet somehow, so full, like a rush of amazing worthiness. I've been given this worth somehow, and I don't know why, but I feel so amazing. When I study someone for history, I write their name, and the first thing I write is the year they were born, and they year they passed on. It's just a moment, just a breath, and yet...then I fill the page with their life, and how full and rich it was, no matter the hardships. So I continue to dream, and every bit of work I do now I know somehow contributes to realising those dreams one day. When I look out across the ocean or up at the stars, I see my life flooding before me, in an incredible river of creativity. I'll be 17 in a few months. 16 years and counting, and I haven't yet breathed once.

And when there is no air left?

Slippin' through my fingers all the time, I try to capture every minute of life.

It will not end. It will continue...for a long, long time yet.

Breathing still,
Sheila Christine

* "Slipping Through My Fingers" --ABBA

Words added

I think, once I've straightened and lined up all those square bits, I might be there.  I plan on auditioning one more set of the words in  some orangey yellow, just to be sure.  Not sure if it's clear in the image, but the fabric I used for the letters in this incarnation was a lovely sky blue with tinges of light yellow in it.  More percolating time required before committing the iron to fuse the fabric pieces down to the background!

From Vegetarian Times
(Happy Valentine's Day)

Bread, again...

Here's my latest bread boule rising in a 10 inch frying pan.  Parchment paper sprayed with Pam is on the bottom.  The loaf top is sprayed with a bit more Pam and then covered with a piece of Saranwrap.  I used an old rotary cutter to slash the top just before I baked it my nice blue pot.  The recipe calls for lifting the raised boule, parchment paper and all, to put into the pot to bake.   Nifty idea.  I probably baked it for 5 minutes too long this time, but it still tasted very delicious.

It's gloomy, cold and grey here today.  It seemed like a good idea to cook up a pot of lentil soup, so I just had that with a small chunk of the crusty bread.  Yum-oh.  
So much for our warm weather. It's very chilly again today. The cold east wind is blowing through the house. At least the water has stopped pouring into the basement. This spring Colin has to get the culvert near the house replaced. Every time it gets backed up/frozen the water heads for the house. Colin figures he dumped out about 100 gal (Cdn) -not fun with a cement/dirt floor.

Made some more cookies today. I really like these ones, they are called Double Oat Chocolate Chip cookies. It's a smaller recipe and makes 4 doz.

3/4 cup margarine 1 cup brown sugar

1 egg 1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour 1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup oat bran 1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

cream margarine and sugar, add egg and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and mix. Drop onto lined/greased cookie sheet. Bake 350F for 10-12 minutes.

I made some raisin bread too. I used the oatmeal bread recipe from the other day and added a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and a couple hands full of raisins.