Monday, November 30, 2009

Acts of kindness

I cleared the counter and then stayed out of the kitchen while Valodya baked up a batch of bean and cheese pyrahi. I suppose that could be considered an act of kindness, but I'm just goofing around.
The news is bad and it's getting worse. Donations to the food bank are down but the demand is way up. I'm angry and upset but that is not going to help anyone. So I am going to try and do an act of kindness every day until the 25th. It will be my advent calendar this year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I am asking myself why I do what I do after participating in a craft sale today that was not a money-maker. What did I get out of it? Am I just in it for the money or do I really enjoy creating just for the joy of creating? But if I'm not selling it then I have a whole pile of creations and a lot of expensive supplies.
Of course the room was filled with crafts made by some very talented people and I'm sure that most of those people would have liked to take home less stuff when it was all over.
Some of the crafts I admired take a lot of work and effort - you can see the care that has gone into each and every one of them.
Some people are born with certain talents and can create with little effort but some of us have to really work and study and practice and toil at our crafts and hobbies in order to put them out there for public scrutiny.
That is a big chance we take because we are either going to be loved or we are going to be rejected.
I seem to get a positive reaction to my creations but that is all well and good but I do want to sell my stuff which is why I tend to make practical things like bags and treasure boxes and quilts.
Hours after the sale and I was prepared to just give my stuff away. It means nothing unless someone else is able to enjoy it.
I have decided to take a break from creating, I will not even go near my craft room. The paints and pens will dry up, my fabric piles will get that musty odour, the button jars will be covered in dust , and all my papers will get yellowed and brittle.
My bookshelves are filled with craft books and magazines of all kinds. There are jars full of rubber stamps, scrabble tiles, wood beads, old keys, clothing labels, old jewelry, and hundreds of spools of thread. Why?
Because at one point I had a vision of what I wanted to create so I surrounded myself with everything I thought I needed but in the clutter of it all, I lost my creative vision.
I found this beautiful fabric pictured above at a linen shop in Naramata.As soon as I saw it I loved it and knew that I wanted to make some bags. Went a step further and made a travel set - a bag, a bookmark, an eye mask, and a lavender-filled pillow. I thought it would be a seller but it was not.

I have been collecting pictures and ideas and patterns in my 'Create' book for a few years now. Why? I thought I knew but now I'm not so sure.
Why do you create?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Road trip

We always stop at Swan Lake when we head south - not only because the facilities are so handy but because they always have such a good selection of fruits and veggies, there is always a buttery aroma from the bakery, and during the spring and summer the nursery is well-stocked.
As always when we got to Kelowna Harvey was as busy as ever. We visited with family in the parking lot of HD and the only shopping I did was at VV in RD. I was saving all my energy for Falkland.

I have been shopping at this antiques shop in Falkland for years. Two years ago they built a new one but I still remember the old store - the uneven wooden floor, the dark dusty corners, the piles and piles of treasures some hanging from the ceiling beams, and shelves everywhere crammed full of books, dishes, and you name it they had it, or it would be coming in their next container shipment. I was so looking forward to browsing through the shop but on our return trip it was closed. I noticed that there was 'Beef dinner nite' over at the community hall so now I know why the store was closed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Walking on sugar

It was one of those evenings - lots to do and not enough time. Luckily, Valodya had made soup earlier in the day so right after work I made parmesan breadsticks (recipe from Grazing by Julie Van Rosendaal) to go with Jewel's favourite soup (recipe from the Family Chef by Jewels and Jill Elmore). The breadsticks were a hit - they are flour, baking powder and salt and then you can add all sorts of stuff like olives or sun-dried tomatoes or fresh herbs. I was in a hurry so I just added grated parmesan.

I was in a hurry because I had to make a cake for work. I tried a new recipe for sour cream and cinnamon and walnut coffee cake. This one was so good that I was asked to share the recipe. I owe the cakes good taste to free-range eggs, organic cinnamon, and walnuts from Oyama.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Found - one quilt top

Ever since I took my first quilting class over twenty years ago, I have endeavored to make quilts, both for at home and as gifts. Some of my first quilts were made using old clothes just like they used to do in the old days. I had no idea of all the patterns that were out there; squares and triangles were my best friends. It takes a lot of work to make a quilt - designing, choosing colours, buying the fabric, cutting all the fabric, and sewing it together with a proper 1/4 inch seam. Then once you have the top made there is still more work. Now you have to choose a batting and a fabric for the back. The three layers must be basted or pinned; do you have a big enough work surface or will you be on your knees? A quilt frame is a great thing to have or you can pay someone with a long-arm quilting machine to stitch it all together with perfect little stitches. That can be expensive depending on how big your quilt is but so worth it.
Yes, making a quilt is a lot of work which makes me wonder why I found a perfectly nice quilt top at my favourite junk store yesterday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Aprons - back in style

This apron, made by G and gifted to me, is made from an old bed sheet.The hem is already nicely done.The pocket and top are embellished with vintage rickrack and a bit of lace.Cotton twill tape is just right for the ties and the hand-stitching is so well done that it has survived years and years of washing and wearing. Normally I do not wear an apron while working in the kitchen (yes I can hear all the gasping) but for this one I will make an exception. It is an no-frill apron, no instructions needed, it just does it's job. And I certainly needed it this weekend as I baked the ever popular crunchy chocolate chip cookies and a new recipe for sour cream coffee cake with streusel topping.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How many washcloths does one person need?

A local woman drives 350 km to the Vancouver Eastside and delivers a van full of donated goods to the people that need it the most - women and low-income families. She has been doing this for over twenty years. After watching this story on tv I went through the house and found several things that I could donate. A jacket, a coat, soaps and shampoos, a frypan, and four dozen washcloths. Why do I have four dozen washcloths? Well, that is not worth mentioning but the fact alone that I can purchase, any time I want, four dozen of anything and then never use them, and at the same time another family in another city can't even afford to buy a frypan, something is dreadfully wrong.
The four dozen washcloths have been sitting in a drawer for the past two years, but they are a reminder to me to only buy what is necessary, never take anything for granted, and to always help those in need no matter where they live.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Money tree?

We have had this jade plant almost as long as we have been in this house which is well over ten years. Every summer we move her outside by the front door where she enjoys the morning sun. And every September somebody with a strong back, carries her back inside to her usual spot by the sliding doors along with her other plant friends - lemon and rosemary and bay laurel. A few weeks ago we noticed that jade had started to blossom. This has never happened before. Conditions have to be just right - no water and a touch of frost. We may have left jade outside just a bit longer then we should have. But we are sure glad we did. And we just found out that it is also called a money tree. Yes, we have tons of blossoms but no we do not live in Manitoba.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The worlds smallest quilt

I don't know if it was the morning pages or the book I'm reading ( Traveling with pomegranates) but I finally finished a project that has been sitting on my dining room table (to eat we could only use half the table) for the past three months, and I am not kidding. I covered a large cedar box with mother-of-pearl buttons, lined the insides of the box with cork and sewed up this tiny quilt for the bottom of the ocean (box). In one corner rests a tiny abalone shell sporting a pearl, and even though abalone do not produce pearls, the combination in this case looks great.