Digital printing for Shibori 2

As this shows - after washing, the image is somewhat paler... some, though not a lot, of the ink washes out... very much like washing the excess of dye out of a fabric. The first question has been answered... it is possible to make a digital print on silk and then use the fabric for shibori... yep... on on ....
The silk has been stitched in two directions and will be gathered and dyed... and steamed for shibori in the hope that some imagery will remain in between the gathers and the structure will give even more of an organic feel.

Very exciting - these are digital prints on Paverpol... The upper one was coated with Golden digital ground; the image is crisp and clear. The lower piece was not coated... and yet the image is strong and the ink quite well adhered to the surface, in fact I like the rather speckled nature it has given to this image. It certainly isn't as fixed as the upper one but hey, the potential here is mind-boggling.
What do you think of the photography? Normal digital camera but spectacular new studio light... Xmas present for me and JAM.

This image is of a digital print on silk strapped down to its carrier sheet. I am now going to try a couple of things...using this fabric and will psot the results later.

Have to be honest with everyone here. I didn't try any of the new recipes last week. I had read somewhere that you could cheat and use baby food for the purees. Well I just couldn't bring myself to do that, so here the recipes are again with the proper vegetables on my grocery list. That's what I get for being lazy :)

Monday:
grocery day this week, so Daddy has his old favourite, PB&H

roast pork in the crock pot -it's dance night so I need supper to cook unsupervised

Tuesday:
farm-type meeting today, no idea when we are getting home

possibly stew in the crock pot

Wednesday:
catering a Senior's Club luncheon with the other ACW ladies

chicken cacciatore from the freezer, with roast potatoes if I have time

Thursday:
cowboy casserole -another freezer meal, since it's skating day

chicken nuggets from Deceptively Delicious

Friday:
mac & cheese and peirogies

pasta with bolognese sauce -from the new book

Saturday:
creamy potato soup, also from the new book

souvlaki -if we haven't sold too many tenderloin on OVFC

Sunday:
we're heading to Ottawa for church (very close to MY church) and then a visit to Santa. I miss going to a 'high church' church and so we head into Ottawa once in a while. Colin says I need my 'incense fix' :)

likely have leftover souvlaki -nope, decided to have leftover stew (I put it in the freezer to keep)

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great ideas.

Feminity



Never too old to be a princess.  I found a dress that used to inhabit my dress-up box, and now it actually fits me!  So much fun!

Proverbs 31:22 22She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
The Lord enjoys our continuing childhood and our own enjoyment of beauty, as long as it is not our sole concern.  Personally, I think we've lost something, having dumbed down our idea of 'gender identity' to jeans and a t-shirt most of the time.  We've lost something in forgetting the era of ladies in floor-length gowns, and gentlemen in ties and tails.  I wear pants, and I'm glad I can, and neither do I think it wrong, but that's not to say that we as women shouldn't remember that women is what we are, and elegance and feminity are a gift to be treasured!

Hugs,
Sheila



 
Christmas Wreath with Lit Candles
Christmas Wreath with Lit Candles


You'll have to excuse my generic Advent wreath picture. I completely forgot to take a picture while I had our going. Next week.

It finally starting to feel like 'Christmas' or more exactly Advent. The colours are changed in the church and we've had our first candle lighting. NOW I feel ready to start getting ready! Maybe I'll finally get my fruitcake and plum pudding made this week. Ella was such an angel in church today. She sat so quietly during the candle lighting. It's amazing how much she is actually listening, even when she's playing. On the way home, she's conducting her own 'church service', we even got 'shhhhd' for talking -I wonder where she's heard that before :) It was so sweet, to hear Ella trying to sing hymns and using phrases from our service.

Hope everyone is having a blessed first Sunday of Advent. I've got a beautiful church cd on throughout the house. It is "Willan:Missae Breves 4&11, Motets" by the Choirs of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene -which is my church from Toronto. It's not really Christmas music, but puts me in such a beautiful place.

Before the Feast ...

I got a bit creative with the dining room table sitting for our family meal. I found some little Indian corn cobs hiding in the Welsh dresser which looked fetching and appropriate in the center of the table. I threw a colorful round tablecloth on top of an antique family linen cloth. The little turkey salt and pepper shakers - which were also lurking in the dresser's drawers - got an outing too. My dear late mother-in-law would probably rather that I'd made up the Coleman's mustard from scratch, like she used to do. Her trick was to mix the yellow powder with a spot of Gordon's gin for a little kick! But the little jar was my lazy way out.

The feast was splendid, and having both our sons home for the occasion this year was a special treat.

(The antique Delftware on the dresser is something I enjoy every day as I walk past it.)




Shibori 16


This is a nudibranch - stitched shibori worm.
People who have seen this worm are only too keen to handle it and 'play' with it. Which is very encouraging for an interactive installation - any galleries reading please get in touch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The stabilised parts become more flexible on handling and I am very keen to make one of these much much longer, and rounder!
the colours and bizarreness are in keeping with Nudibranchs I know and love....
Putting digital image into shibori

The surface is painted with Golden digital ground - transparent and white

The image is printed onto the surface and allowed to dry and then coated with a waterproof sealer for shibori process

Fabric is then gathered and steamed.
The image is intact.
The fabric has a skin like quality and suggests snake skin - because of the imagery I guess
the Skin is very organic because of how it flexes and will return to its gathered shape.

Not quite what I am looking for but this will make for one evil Nudibranch

Sorry for not updating as much as I should

Crazy days. Just flying by and already looking at changing the calendars over to December. Also wondering where I put the new 2010 calendars.
Christmas is almost here. The boys first reports come home soon and the two week holiday for them will start in less than a month.
Well the first couple of batches of caviar has gone out. I will be working away on the next little batch I will be sending to Wychwood.
Today Andrew is down to Dufferin. A good amount of fresh whitefish. I am in the middle of getting ready for Saturday. The smokers are on and been basted. Now just letting them brown for a awhile and shut them off in a couple of hours.
We are hoping the wind calms down a bit. It says the winds are suppose to be light overnight then increasing to 20 knots (40 km) Friday morning. That will make it come straight down our shore between Hay Island. Not the greatest for one net and a bumpy ride to go to and from the other net. But hopefully it is wrong or if it could wait to pick up after Andrew is off the water. We shall see tomorrow. The challenges of the fisherman. Flurries are in our forecast also for next Tuesday. I am not ready for it but the boys want it so they can go skiing.
Hopefully I will down Saturday. Andrew and my oldest will be for sure but I may have more dry land training for cross country skiing again with my other two boys. It is nice to watch the boys do but roller skis is something I will never try myself. Falling on snow is one thing but falling on pavement or gravel is completely different. I think with age we become more cautious. I know I am and I am thankful if I do fall on skis, everything still kinda works when I try and get back up.

My new covering from Garlands of Grace arrived just in time. It's the Cecily style again, I really like it. I was wanting another black one (mine is getting faded) and wanted lace to make it a little fancier for church and such. My package arrived Thursday just as I was packing to leave Friday (which I didn't get to until Friday anyway).

We decided to make the drive to London in two days. When Daddy and I go, it's about 8 hours. Well it took us 9 hours to get to Elmira!!! Didn't help that we had bad rain until Lindsay. The 3 potty stops and a lunch really took up time too. It was hard to find out B&B in the dark. The street signs are very far back from the road to make room for the buggy lane. We stayed with Ella again. It's the perfect room for us. My Ella was very impressed with her Christmas village.

I've also found out that Grandma can't navigate her way out of a paper bag :) We ended up driving in circles outside of Stratford. At which point I took the map book away and went back to navigating. We stopped in Stratford for lunch. Couldn't resist getting a picture of Ella with her frosted A&W mug (that she shared with me). We don't have 'real' A&W restaurants up here and Daddy's never had their root beer in a frosted mug before.

It was another 4 hours to London!! We finally made it to my friend Karen's house. We met at the University of Western Ontario. I wish she lived closer, I really enjoy her company. Karen had her sister Linda bring the kids over. So Ella had a great time playing with Quinten and Emma-Lynne. Ella found a doctor's kit and put Emma-Lynne in bed to play 'hospital'. That's one of Ella's favourite games. We had a really nice visit with Karen and her family. I wish I had remembered to get some pictures before we left.

After Karen's we headed up to Bev and Keith's to see the new addition. Rachel has grown so much since they were up for a visit (she was a few months old). I've never seen such a quiet 21 month old. She's not even really trying to talk. Ella wouldn't stop at that age :)

Here's a picture of Rachel and Ella sitting in church waiting for the service to start. Really they were just taking a breather, they were both walking circles around the church. The service was United, so was quite short, but very nice. Brandon and his cousin Philip were both Christened on Sunday. The minister is great, Ella even felt comfortable enough to go up front during the children's talk and during the Christening.

We headed home after some lunch and goodies. We made great time until we got to the airport outside of Toronto. We hit rush hour-type traffic, even though it was Sunday afternoon. We stopped for supper at Boston Pizza and then headed to Petra's. Ella was able to just mellow, play and watch a bit of tv.

And of course, it wouldn't be a vacation post without a picture of Miss Ella snoozing in the back seat. As you can see, she's big enough to use the car's seat belt now, instead of the baby harness.
Just want to wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! Hope you all get to spend the day with those you love and count your blessings. Here's two pictures I thought I'd share that show what the day looks like to me :)

Freedom from Want
Freedom from Want

Trimming the Pie, c.1935
Trimming the Pie, c.1935

Went to check on the dimensions of the gallery space at Epcor for February and took in a few galleries.
Tried to visit the Triangle Gallery and saw the work of Ryan Marsh Fairweather - these organisms crawling up a wall create an assemblage very much like I hope to with my Shibori work. Aren't they funny. Ryan if you see this and object to the image please let me know and I will remove it.

Truck Gallery (beware, both do not open till 11am) Had a coffee at Arts Central (very pleasant), then went to find the Weiss Gallery and "100 pieces of work by Judy Chicago (now down to about 20 pieces of work because of the need to cater for their commitments to their other artists....) The lady there was most encouraging and did assure me they would be bringing out other works from the collection to show before end Jan when the exhibition of Judy's works will end. Maybe one or two will be textile???

Had a pleasant lunch with John and we sat in full sunshine! Is this winter in Calgary?

Then back to Truck - work by Tammy McGrath - Voir Dire very thought provoking - about the burning of books... which took me back to Kristelnacht so was quite a disturbing experience. The commentary was very illuminating leading one to consider what might be coming out from the ashes, which in this case were dark "ominous creatures.... mythological beasts.... protectors of the persecuted books, or provocateurs of their evil demise."

Whilst collecting items from around the arty places I saw that Ron Mueck's work is at the Glenbow till Jan... might take a look at that exhibition, although I thought I never would.

Galleries at the Epcor had interesting displays, noteably the City of Magpies from The New Gallery.

Lots of lovely textile... mixed media with found objects, made by some of the homeless in Calgary under mentorship of local artists. A stunning window display.

Hope to go to see Dagmar Dahle - Weaving Van Goch... Looks very interesting, I wonder if I can get a group together to see this and other works.

A great day out - I felt like I was on holiday. So many more galleries to visit.


I see the merits of having Thanksgiving in November. While I do prefer having it in October here in Canada, I think having Thanksgiving a little closer to Decmeber 25 could delay the inevitable Christmas chaos a little bit.

That being said, I'm definitely already in Christmas mode and our tree is definitely already up. And a quick glance at the calendar verifies that today marks exactly one month until the big man in red makes his rounds.

As such, I've been plotting food ideas for the various holiday parties and gatherings we have going on. Which is something I absolutely love because I really, really love apps and finger foods and the idea of grazing casually over a several-hour span, something that the waistline very rarely permits.

Vegan Christmas ideas are a bit tricky. You don't want to put out something too "freaky", because among some circles it may prompt a refusal to sample. Although it is kind of funny to see the panic on faces when you hint that tofu might be listed among the ingredients of whatever people are scarfing down. Back in the day, my face probably would be among those panic-stricken, don't get me wrong. It's just that now I find it kind of peculiar that a soy bean is considered weird and gross while something that was at one point squeezed out of a cow's nipple is considered quite normal and appetizing. One of the many items on my list of "Things that Make You Go Hmmm".

As a result of this peculiarity of our culture I generally try to avoid using tofu in party foods, because in my experience there is a lot of reluctance toward trying it. And generally I do try and eat minimal amounts of soy myself, so tofu-free dips and treats are a-ok with me.

This is a warm bean dip from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. To me, it is reminiscent of the warm dips listed on menus of chain restaurants (in a good, comfort food kind of way). It goes great with fresh cut veggies and crackers, so it is perfect for the Christmas potlucks that are so popular this time of year. It also works great as a sandwich spread, if you're lucky enough to have any leftover.
So I've found a whole bunch of fabulous blogs, and I think you all deserve to know about them!  I'm going to showcase one blog every once in a while, until my entire blogroll has been gone through.  And who knows?  Maybe by then I'll know about your blog!  Feel free to comment and tell me all about that special place on our beloved interwebs that you call your own and scribble your own craziness (or not-so-craziness!) on.  I'm going to go through them in no particular order except that which makes sense in my own crazy little head.  Now, on to our first blog!

Living for Jesus
I found Katrina's blog through the YLCF day in the life carnival, and in fact, she was the arbitrary winner, but I've been really enjoying going back through her blog and reading about her walk with God, and her work at her local Christian pregnancy centre.  She has encouraged me many times over the past weeks, with her kind words and thougtful takes on life.  Her sister was also recently married, and it's been fun following that story.  I hope you'll check her fabulous blog out and consider adding it to your own blogroll.  :-)

Hugs,
Sheila

Did I show you this? (Don't look Lynn)


This is a small piece that I am sending to an International Art Exchange.
Heat bonded and etched stuff and hand stitching with couched plastic tube.
The first Thanksgiving meal consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, roasted meat and cranberries. I found this an interesting read to get some historical perspective to this, my favorite of American holidays. It's about gathering together with family and eating yourself silly and maybe taking a moment to remember, out loud, what everyone is particularly thankful for this year.

I've just returned from a Thanksgiving haul from our local Safeway -- and the only things on my list from the historical feast described above were cranberry and corn. Both items handily available in cans.

Our menu will be a Roasted Turkey, Stove Top Turkey Stuffing Mix (jazzed up with bits and pieces), Green Bean Casserole: fresh long green beans mixed with the obligatory Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup and the fattening french fried onion rings to top that off in a casserole to bake through. I'll be making a yam casserole too - the lovely Garnet yams with their deep colored flesh ... adding a few chopped prunes, a bunch of butter, some brown sugar and a splash of some Jack Daniels Whiskey and inserting a few mini-marshmallows as I stir all these things together. Mashed spuds, good gravy from the turkey drippings will be part of our feast, as well. I found a recipe for a Corn Souffle -- looks easy enough, but I don't think it will puff up quite like a French souffle. For my husband, I'll be sure to remember to make some Bread Sauce, the distinctly British sauce he says he can't eat roasted fowl without. The more it tastes like what he remembers of British Railways Bread Sauce, the happier he'll be. Then of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without the incredibly fattening and traditional pies. So I'll be whipping up Pecan and Pumpkin pies. Thank goodness for frozen deep dish pastry shells.

Then it will only a few weeks until I put my English Christmas culinary hat on and more or less repeat the turkey business, but with more traditional English side dishes!

Photo credit: Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Couson
I'm actually not here. We aren't back until tomorrow, but you gotta love 'scheduled posts' :) A lot of the recipes this week come from Deceptively Delicious. I found it at the library where we have Knit Night. Hopefully the recipes will go over well with the family. I will likely be the hardest one to please since I know the 'weird' foods that are hidden in there.

Monday:
heading to Bowmanville today. Thinking of stopping by Auntie Belinda's office depending on time and moods. We'll stay at Petra's as usual.

Tuesday:
home sometime

spaghetti

Wednesday:
crescent dogs

chicken cacciatore

Thursday:
wieners and beans after skating

chicken nuggets from the new book

Friday:
calzones from the freezer

pasta with bolognes sauce from the new book

Saturday:
creamy potato soup -new book

BBQ meatballs

Sunday:
mac & cheese and perogies

chili -remade from the new book


Head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and see what other families are eating this week.

BUSTED

You feed them, clothe them, tend to their every need for years and how do they repay you?  By ratting you out to their dad, that's how.  Oh, they look all sweet and innocent at first glance but don't be fooled. Deep down they are cut throat stool pigeons.  I had almost forgotten about our oldest child's revelation to his father about me running into a shopping cart that caused a significant scratch to our van, a story worthy of it's own blog.  Apparently his youngest brother and sister are following his example.
Hubby was in the big city for a few days on business and was able to spend an evening with our two youngest rats kids, when they divulged to him that he had been the subject of a few of my posts. Busted!  If you have spent any time with my darling husband, you will know how very private he is.  I thought he might not be too happy with the fact that I have been entertaining you all at his expense with stories of his technical and craftiness ineptitude but he seemed to take it all in stride.  He did however ask for the blog address so that he could view it for himself. I think I may be in trouble.  I also think that two of my children will be getting me an extra nice Christmas present this year.

The culprits.
Me and my friend's beautiful baby girl, Julie Anne Marie!  It's a marvel to know I was there when she was born. 



Adorable ball of cute.  :-D

Hugs,
Sheila

Regrets




I'm only seventeen.

I'm already seventeen.

Goodness, what happened?  The time came and went so fast, and there were times when I thought I was more me than I had ever been before, and now, having taken off my inner tinted glasses, I know that was the furthest from what God created me to be.  It's scary.  I have memories that seem like a different person.  My life wasn't this life!  My life wasn't the life it was before!  It was... it must have been... someone else's life!  It was I guess.  It wasn't God's life, I had inadvertantly given it to other forces.  I'm just so glad He kept talking to me and reminding me how much He loves me and how much He wants me.

He is God.

He's still God!  And He always will be.

I had no idea what I was doing.  I thought I did.  I so thought I did!  I thought I was following God.  I thought I could do exactly what I wanted and still be following God.  The tears stream down my face now, and I hear that voice, once again telling me He still loves me.  They all say it, I mean, I've heard it since I was little, but now I find myself saying "Why does He still love me?"  The thing is, no matter what I do, He is always willing to hear us repent and always has His arms wide open, more than willing to embrace us as we run back to Him.

"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
I felt that way.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." *

I'm still seventeen.  God can still use my life.  If I let Him, He will.  He has called me to Himself and He will send me out into the world to do whatever He sees fit.

What is it about life, that makes it seem so disjointed and terrible, and so wonderful at the same time?

Oh God!  Use my life!  As I see a precious child be born, I can but pray for her, as of yet a new life with no mistakes in it: Help her Lord!

I cast off my regrets.



Sheila

* Luke 15:11-31


The first falafel I ever had was in Paris, France at a place called L'as du Falafel, located in Marais, a predominantly Jewish district of the city. It was the only place we ate at twice and I know I would have been glad to eat there every afternoon of our eight-day stay. To date, it is the best falafel I have ever had.

At L'as du Falafel the pita bread doubles as a bowl, which they then load up with the falafel, shredded cabbage and other fresh veggies, give you a fork and send you on your merry way (I was definitely covered in sauce after my attempt to make like the Parisians who surrounded me and eat it while walking around the Marais...fail!)

At this time I was vegetarian and not yet vegan, so I can't guarantee their falafel are vegan-friendly. If I remember correctly, they served them up with a tangy tzatziki sauce, which is not traditionally vegan however I remember the falafel balls being so flavourful that you could skip sauce altogether and not be devastated.

I've tried various pita-based establishments around here and nothing has even come close. I've also tried to make them at home but my attempts pretty much sucked in the taste department. I think I've figured out the problem, though - all previous falafel attempts were baked and not fried (in an effort to be a bit more health conscious, of course).

Now, I don't want this to be construed as me condoning frying. For the most part I think the frying method is used and abused in our North American culture and our arteries are suffering for it. However, when it comes to falafel - and I can't believe I'm going to say it - the flavour and authenticity come out of the frying pan.

I had decided to call in the "find me a great falafel on this side of the Atlantic" search party when I remembered seeing Isa's recipe for them in Vegan with a Vengeance. In the book she talks about singing songs about falafel at Jewish camp as a kid so I figured I better give her recipe a chance before assuming I would be falafel-less until once again finding myself wandering the streets of Paris.



[Falafel, pre-frying]


Ohhh. So good. So so so good and SO close to what I had at L'as du Falafel a year and a half ago. Paul also gave the meal a win, despite claiming to be not much of a falafel man.

Build your own falafel night is a super fun alternative to build your own taco night:



The sauce you see (very poorly) pictured on the right is a creamy tahini, also featured in Vegan with a Vengeance.

The only problem now is that I want to eat this every single day.

Shibori 13


Not unlucky.
The sculptural samples I have made are very exciting and even this one, which was orginially a metre of silk, and is now a small worm-like tube that no-one, from 3 years to 50, wants to touch... is providing a lot of food for thought. As I 'play' with it and try different forms it suggests many writhing pulsating nematodes ... and so on... I know I am going to make this bigger and bigger and start to use a machine for the gathering instead of by hand. Here goes...
Also - Major break through with stiffening the shibori and providing a stable surface for hand stitching... Small sample only so far but it is exciting progress. On On....
You may think that spending five hours in one store would be excruciatingly painful but not when that one store is Ikea and your shopping partners are your daughter and pregnant daughter-in-law. 
Highlights of our trip?

Our .99c breakfast: Two sausages, scrambled eggs, and home fries. mmmm... it sustained us for the whole five hours.

The deals: A set of food containers for $5, floor lamps for $10, a bookcase for $30. Kere was in her absolute bargain hunting glory.

The fun: Kere awoke that morning with a back ache so there were frequent stops in the store while she rested her back by reclining on the wonderful sofas on display. At one point, I instructed her to lie down and bring her knees to her chest in order to stretch out the lower back muscles. After a couple of minutes I told her to spread her knees apart and started to yell "PUSH".  We broke into fits of laughter at the startled looks on the other customers faces.

It was a great day and the only thing that could have made it better was if my other daughter-in-law could have been there.  We missed you Olivia.

They heard we were coming.

On the Day a Baby is Born...


Surprise surprise!  About 15 minutes after I made my last post, I got a phone call from Mary that she had been in prelabour since 5:30 that morning.  I immediately gather my things together and my Mum and I drove down.  I got a few hours sleep at my grandparents until Mary called me that she was off to the hospital, so I went too.  She was in active labour for approximately 5 hours, and it was intense.  What a priviledge to be there for her!  Matt was very sweet with her too.  In any case, a beautiful baby girl was born this morning at 6:12am, 9 pounds, 3 ounces: Julie Ann-Marie!

Birth is an absolute miracle, and I was so blessed to witness it.  Good work Mary, you did it naturally!  Woohoo! Congratulations to Matthieu and Mary and also to big brother Marc.

I'll try to post pictures soon, but I only got pictures on their camera (I can't believe I left my camera card at home!) so I'm just waiting to get them from Mary.

YAYYYYY!!!!!   BABY!!!!!   :-D

Sheila
Pretty quiet day out there in Blogland today. Everyone must be as busy as I am. I'm trying to finish off two outfits to take with us to London. I've also been catching up on laundry and trying to get some food put away for Daddy. I sure wish he were coming with us. Called my girlfriend, Karen, in London last night and now have official planned to meet. It's been a few years, well, Ella's entire lifetime to be exact. It will be great to introduce Karen to Ella :)

I still have a bunch of button holes to make (and buttons to sew), not to mention packing for Ella and me. On top of it all, it's nearly time to stop for supper. So this is aufwiederzehn till next week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Baby hat! Babies babies!!!

Look what I just did!  My friend and her husband are expecting their second baby any day now (in fact, today is her due date!) and she wants me to attend the birth and be her labour support, so I'm just waiting for the call!  So excited.  Short post, but I just wanted to share this sweet little hat I just made with you.

As usual, I didn't use a patern, and just mate it up as I went along.  Turned out smashingly!
 

Psalm 127:3 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Hugs,
Sheila

Gathered two directions
Just taking out the threads - moving them around to show 'ikat' dye that occurs concurrently with shibori dyeing.
Sculptural forms
Flat pattern - very delicate


This pizza is pretty self-explanatory and thus I'm not sure it warrants its own blog entry, but it looked so pretty that I had to share.

Once an adamant supporter of the "pizza without cheese is not pizza" school of thought, hail the vegan gods, I am a convert.

I never realized how distracting the flavour of cheese was until I stopped eating it. So it's not surprising that the "pizza without cheese is not pizza" ideology exists, because it becomes (quite tragically, I think) the very essence of the meal in all its grease-high glory. It becomes how we define the actual thing we are talking about. So naturally when you suggest removing the "essence" it is often equated with blasphemy. Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about cheeseless pizza after going vegan so it took me awhile to even try it, assuming it would just "not be the same" and somehow disappoint me, or make me sad to be vegan, or what have you. I was wrong. I couldn't be more wrong.

I've always been somewhat okay with name-calling so call me what you will...I still suggest trying pizza without cheese.

Honestly. I never realized how overpowering it was and how it could take away from how good a spicy tomato sauce can be. And how amazing the fresh-cut vegetables always are. Instead, on traditional pizzas all of this variety gets suffocated under heaps of cheese that in turn sit like a huge lump in the gut area and cause you to curse yourself the next morning when you try and button your favourite jeans.

Now, I won't front like I didn't fancy me some cheese-on-everything back in the day. That overpowering, all consuming flavour almost becomes addictive, doesn't it? Even though I am now all but repulsed by it (seriously...everyone thinks I'm lying when I say that) I understand the difficulty people have with the thought of a life without cheese and quite honestly it was once upon a time my biggest obstacle in moving into la vida vegan. Especially when our culture seems to want to put it on absolutely everything with reckless abandon. I definitely get the apprehension.

However, when I finally determined that my interest in veganism and animal rights and solid nutritional health was stronger than my addiction to dairy products, I realized how much flavour I had been missing by hiding absolutely everything under a ridiculous amount of cheese. Especially in the case of pizza. Instead of the cheese it's now flavoured by the bright tomato sauce, the copious amounts of mushrooms, the fresh bell pepper, the artichokes and the garlic. For once I can actually taste all of it. It's almost refreshing, which is something I never thought pizza could be. Pizza was a meal for eating in sweatpants and sweatpants only, and feeling like a balloon post-ingestion. Now I have no problem having pizza for lunch and then going for a long walk after (I was going to say run......but who am I kidding), instead of groaning in agony on the couch (okay yes, I am starting to get ridiculous here and I do realize -at least hope- most people don't eat five slices of Little Caesar's PLUS crazy bread like I used to).

Further, when I went vegetarian I noticed some differences in how I felt but nothing compared to when I cut out all dairy. I can seriously cut my life in two...how I felt while I ate cheese and how I felt when I stopped and that feeling alone has curbed any sort of non-vegan craving. For real.

In summary: This picture is pretty. Cheese-less pizza is good. And I can't stay away from a good rant to save my life.

Menu Plan Monday -16 November 09

Ok, I know it's Tuesday. We did groceries yesterday, so I guess that made me forget it was Monday. Better late than never, right?? Last week's menu got thrown out the window by about Tuesday. We defrosted my upright freezer and had some casualties that had to be eaten. My freezer now looks beautiful and I can actually find things. I even have a few freezer meals in there. Now I have to clean out the big freezer in the summer kitchen. I won't defrost it. It hasn't been turned off in the 45 years the family has been here (it came with the house so who knows how old it is). It's so jammed I have forgotten what's all in there. I hate that.

It's a short menu this week. Ella, Grandma and I are heading off to London at the end of the week. Colin's best friend from college, Keith, is Christening his little boy. Colin can't come, so we're going to represent the family. It takes Colin and I 8 hours to get to London so, we're making this a 2 day drive. Ella just doesn't 'do' drives that long. Not that I can blame her, who would want to be strapped into a car seat for that long. Since Daddy never eats most of the stuff I leave out for him any way, I'm not planning meals while we're away. There will be plenty of food around the house, but he'll have to find it himself :)

Monday:
grocery day

cooked chicken from the store and french fries -boy have I found the right combination to get Ella to eat, too bad it's not something we can have a lot.

Tuesday:
grilled cheese -Daddy's at work so we can have a smaller lunch

chicken enchiladas

Wednesday:
pizza

chicken and dumplings -actually a recipe from Keith's lovely wife (who shares my b-day :) ). It's really easy and I'll post the recipe later if I get a chance.

Thursday:
cowboy casserole

roast pork

Friday:
we're heading out as soon as we can get everyone moving. We're going as far as Elmira. I'll leave a venison steak in the crock pot for Daddy. He's working today and will appreciate coming home to a proper meal.

Saturday:
Off to London. Hopefully we'll be able to get together with my friend from university, I went to the University of Western Ontario in London. We'll also stop by Keith's to see if there is anything we can help with, even if it's just playing with little Rachel (she's turning 2 in Feb)

Sunday:
Christening and luncheon

Lots of ideas available over at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Shibori 11

Hand stitching - half circles
for the preparotory stitching see Shibori 8 in a previous post below
After dyeingStretching out a little - wonderful sculptural form
And a little more

And the reverse side - nothing to say that this ought to be the back!

Sculptural form - this has got to have potential for my worms, caterpillars and nudibranchs Continued....
Flat pattern
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