Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Patty's Sky

I created a series of sky Polaroid transfers for my dear friend, Patty. She saw a sky image I had in my Etsy shop and asked me if I could make a series. I knew just which images I would use. I had photographed the sky outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2004, and I had been wanting to make them into transfers.

Patty used to rehabilitate birds and wishes she could fly, so I hope these images help her to soar...

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Wildlife in My Backyard...

I am blessed to live in the Canadian Rockies, the tourist mecca of Banff, to be exact. Thanks to my husband's career in the ski industry, we moved here back in December of 2006. I am always talking about how beautiful and awe inspiring the views are here. I thought it was about time I showed some photos of the animals we encounter everyday. Literally, this elk was laying in the sun in my backyard. I was happy there was a fence between him and I. However, there is often nothing between me and the animals. It can actually be a bit scary, to be walking up the street and to turn the corner right into a deer and her fawn, or a big daddy elk, or a big ram. There are grizzly bears on the mountain where Andre works, but thankfully they should all be down for a long nap right now. Not early enough for a friend of ours, who works with Andre, who almost walked smack dab into on a couple of weeks ago. Nothing like a little protein for a bear before his winter nap. We are grateful our friend is ok, but even in a place where people do get eaten by bears, I was surprised at how shaken up this mountain guide was. I would have been a wreck! Keep an eye out...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Classic Crepe Recipe

Yes, yes, I have decided to share this much loved recipe. Everyone in our house loves these crepes, which we eat at least bi weekly, and when I am pregnant, even more often, since I crave them. They are full of protein and can include all manor of fruit, nuts, and of course real maple syrup. The photograph shows banana and pecan toppings.

Our Crepes (this was formally called Paul's crepes, after Papa Paul, Andre's Dad, but we have tweeked it and made it our own)

1 Cup all purpose unbleached flour (I have tried healthier flours but many are too heavy. If you prefer a whole grain flour you can try half spelt and half all purp)
1 T sugar
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 Cups milk
2 T melted butter

Whisk together dry ingredients. Beat eggs. While whisking add some of the egg, then some of the milk to the dry ingredients, until they have both been combined. Whisk in butter. Add butter to a large frying pan on med high heat, then add enough batter to cover the bottom. Cook until you see browning around the edges of the crepe, flip over, and cook the other side. You will have to practice, the first crepe is often not perfect looking but is the test crepe, and still tastes good. Turn down the heat if the pan gets too hot. A heavy bottomed frying pan works best. Roll, butter, add toppings and syrup, and bon appetit.

Consolidating My Blogs

I have too many, and since I am pregnant, have a 2 1/2 years old, and get busier than usual from time to time, I think it would be better to just have one blog for now. That way I can post daily in one place, instead of deciding where to post. Please visit my blog at http://www.tiffanyteske.blogspot.com. Thanks!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Consolidating My Blogs

I have too many if you add in the ones that are group blogs, and since I am pregnant, have a 2 1/2 years old, and get busier than usual from time to time, I think it would be better to just have one personal blog for now. That way I can post daily in one place, instead of deciding where to post. This will be my official blog and I will no longer post to my blog at http://www.mypartforourplanet.blogspot.com. Since environmental issues are as dear to my daily life as art, food, and motherhood I feel this is a move in the right direction. Putting this all in one blog will make it more complete instead of fragmented like it was before. I appreciate your comments and hope you will enjoy my "new" blog, thank you :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Special Tea for My Blossoming Belly

I made my own mix of tea yesterday. Raspberry leaf tea is recommended for pregnancy and I was given a recipe for one by my wonderful naturopath, Dr. Samantha Frey, of the Banff Naturopathic Medical Clinic. If you are looking for a naturopath in Banff, you should go to her. If you would like to know more about naturopathic medicine here is more info. Raspberry leaf is a uterine tonic and most of the other ingredients are rich in minerals.

I went to my local health food store to pick up the organic dried herbs I needed. There are several commercial raspberry leaf teas on the market but I wanted to try my hand at mixing my own. Nothing can be simpler than making tea. No cooking involved. You just get the ingredients and mix them together in equal amounts. I poured them all in a stainless steel bowl and mixed with clean hands. I love to do things with my hands when possible, instead of with a spoon. It makes me feel more connected. In the end for about $8 I was able to mix enough tea to overfill a medium sized canister, I believe it is about 110 grams of tea.
The ingredients are:
Raspberry Leaf
Red Clover
Peppermint (some people add this on a cup by cup basis but I love mint tea)
Rosehips (these can be added if you want an immune boost, since they are high in Vitamin C)

Use 1 teaspoon per cup of water. The tea should be steeped for 15-20 minutes minimum, but can be steeped overnight for maximum mineral extraction. This is what I did, because I like strong tea and want to get the maximum benefits of it.

It is recommended by Dr. Frey that pregnant women start to drink this after 16 weeks. I am not sure why, since I have seen it recommended earlier. I am 13 weeks. I tried it, to make sure it is good, but will hold off on drinking it daily for a few more weeks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prenatal Yoga

I finally started my prenatal yoga. I have done yoga before but have never been hard core. I danced ballet for about 12 years, and have always been into daily stretching, although I let that slip after having my daughter. Since I believe that daily stretching kept me fit and helped me to have an amazing birth, I have been anxious to get back into it. I think that the combination of yoga and stretching routines is ideal. My friend, Cassandra, works for FITMOM in Ottawa, so when I saw that my friend, Pamela, carries the FITMOM DVDs in her shop, I decided to try out the Prenatal Vibe for Birth DVD. I like that they are a Canadian company of mompreneurs. I have only been at it for a week, so I have not viewed all of the features, but I really like the core workout. Quin, my daughter, has been doing it with me, for the most part, although sometime she just seems to run around me in circles saying, "Look at ME, Mom!". She wants a Yoyo mat, a PINK Yoyo mat, so I guess that is a good sign she may get into it...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, I turned 35 today, at 2:33 PM. I am a bit shocked. I guess not as shocked as my mom is to have a 35 year old daughter, or as my grandmother must be to have a 60 something year old daughter. My grandmother turned 87 on November 6th. Amazing. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter, and I have no idea where the time went... and next June we will have a new little one who will grow and change just as quickly. Someone slow down this ride, it feels like only yesterday that I was riding on a merry go round for the first time...

I have learned many things in 35 years. I would be hesitant to try to list them all here. I guess I will go with the simple thoughts and ideals that I try to live by each day, since they are second nature. Truly simple.

1) Try to enjoy everything you do.
2) If you don't enjoy everything you do, change your life so you do.
3) Do what you love for a job, that way it is a passion and a true extension of yourself, not really a job.
4) Live artfully.
5) Be nice.
6) Treat others as you would like to be treated.
7) Respect others differences, if we were all the same, life would be boring.
8) you are not perfect, get over it. Life is more fun when the pressure is off.
9) Be brave.
10) Just do it.
11) Take chances and do things that scare you. They push your boundaries and often the things you were afraid to do end up being very important experiences for growth in the end.
12) Be curious.
13) Be passionate.
14) Be generous.
15) Collaborate with others, rather than hording all your best ideas. It is amazing how your great ideas can become even greater when you share them and combine then with others.
16) Smile at people.
17) Know when to stop being nice and to stand up for what you believe in. Polite women don't make history. Don't let people walk on you. The more you let them, the more they will, but the more you stand up for yourself, the more you will.
18) Never grow old. You are only as old as you feel. I know many people who show me this everyday.
19) Be an example to your children. They are watching your every move, and they will emulate both the best and the worst of your behavior.
20) Be thankful for each and every minute spent with those who you love. Time is short. You never know what will happen, but if you enjoy each moment, you will not have regrets.
21) Don't have regrets.
22) Feel confident about where you are. Don't wait until you are somewhere else. You know that saying, "Bloom where you are planted"? Make steps to get where you want to be, but don't let not being in the right place at the right time get in your way. I truly feel that in a larger sense I have always been at the right place at the right time in my life.
23) If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
24) Be the change you want to see in the world. Thanks, Ghandi.

I hope this is not all too cliche but I truly believe in all of the above. I spent an awesome birthday, as usual! I LOVE my birthday. What can be better than phone calls from my friends and family, emails, cards... Indian take out for dinner with my family... being alive!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

French Toast Casserole...


...a new addition to our breakfast repertoire. It is soooooo easy, and a new favorite. I got the recipe for French Toast Casserole from a link on Treehugger. I used pecans and Ryan's Irish Cream (since it is a poor substitute for Bailey's if you like to sip it as a liqueur so I had to use it somehow, live and learn). This is a great food for brunch or actually every day (we have tested this three days in a row, just for you, and it actually get better everyday!!). Enjoy!


New Works

I have been working on Polaroid transfers lately... but I only have about 30 pieces of film left... period. I am headed to the states in early December, and am hoping that B&H still has a bit of 669 available. If not, I may be force to scrounge the internet for anything I can get my hands on. I truly am at peace with the fact that at some point, I will never make a Polaroid transfer again. However, I like the idea of having this just sort of creep upon me and happen, without my being aware of it until it is over, kind of like the way my child stops doing things, like when she weened, I didn't know it was the end until it was over. This made it much more easy to take...

I enjoyed working on transfers this week. My friend, Patty had asked me to make some transfers of the sky, a series. I will post those later but for now I will post what I uploaded to my Etsy shop. These are images I took while with my Dad, husband, and sister several years ago. They look nostalgic, like a lot of my work, and they are bringing back memories...

On a fun note, Number 3 in this series was featured today on the Photographer's of Etsy Blog, in a feature on New Works. Pam Hardy who also lives in Alberta. Thanks, Pam!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vegetarian Pogos AKA Corn Dogs

I have been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old. That is almost 22 years... sheesh! I saw the movie Faces of Death, saw a live cow being slaughtered, and that was it for me. While saving animals was on the agenda for a couple years, in the end, my reasons for being a vegetarian have always been evolving and changing. They have included everything from I was seriously studying ballet and it was healthy diet to have, to not really having ever liked meat much, to finding an organic plant and dairy based diet to be the most healthy, natural option for me, to it being the best option for the environment... I come from a bunch of midwestern meat eaters, so when I made my announcement, my mom and grandparents thought I was crazy and that my 90 pound frame might promptly wither away to nothing. My father, whom I lived with at the time said it was my choice, but that I must eat chicken and turkey in order to stay "healthy" and so the rest of the family could eat meals with me. In the end, they enjoyed the fact that they were preparing healthier meals such as spaghetti with ground turkey instead of beef. Soon after turning 18 years old and moving out, I ditched the chicken and turkey. I do eat dairy and fish. I never claim to be a "true vegetarian" but I also don't use terms like pescatarian (don't eat meat but eat fish) because I find them to be silly distinctions. In fact, while I am happy to talk about not eating meat, when asked, but I do not bring it up, and if someone notices I am not eating something at a dinner party or if I attend an event where a different entree shows up for me, I don't like the unnecessary attention it brings me. Not eating meat is a choice that has many layers and is very personal to me, it is not for attention. On the same note, I am very respectful of the eating habits of others, and don't really question them. When having people over to eat, I merely ask if there is anything they don't eat. Most people appreciate this, as do I, when people ask me. I have never gotten in someone's face about the fact that they eat meat, I do not tell gory stories to try to get someone to see my way, and I don't guilt trip.

So, sorry to get off on that tangent, that is the problem sometimes when I am given free reign. Anyway, for the most part, I do not like veggie food masquerading as meat, In other words, fake cold cuts, ground beef, or bacon... I never really liked meat, aside from bacon, so I don't ever feel the need to eat things that try to taste like it. I do like tofu, and veggies burgers and all sorts of healthy meals that don't mimic meat. However, I do eat veggie dogs, which I think taste like hot dogs. I would not put a hot dog in my mouth for anything. But veggie dogs are a good alternative. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE corn dogs, or as they call them here in Canada, Pogos or Pogo Sticks. I can't figure out with all the meat like vegetarian food out there why someone doesn't make veggie corn dogs? On Wikipedia they claim they do exist but I have never seen them.The first company to start making them claims to have been making them since 1949, that's right veggie corn dogs! Until I find them the good thing is that they are simple to make. Which is what I did last night. I used a recipe from the National Corn Dog Day website. The recipe makes enough for 4 hot dogs. I would make these all the time if they were not fried in oil. But, for a satisfying treat that brings back memories of being a child at the Minnesota State Fair (where they were claimed to have been invented in 1941, some dispute there...) and warm summer nights, I will make them from time to time. And my 2 1/2 year old is sure happy to have something she can use as a vehicle to eat ketchup. She kept MMMMMMing while she ate hers. I like mine with lots of plain old yellow mustard....

For a history of the corn dog check out wikipedia...

PS I do realize my corn dogs are stickless, and that there are a few holes where the batter should be. Next time I will wipe the hot dogs so the batter will stick better... good tip I just read today... The corn dogs I grew up with were Pronto Pups.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Bit Behind...

Yes, yes, I know... it HAS been awhile. I need to finish the 30 Things in 30 Days Series. And I have been thinking of how I want this blog to proceed. Everyday I see something I want to include here. I have not been posting much about art, which is of course close to my heart. I would like to write more about artists who are making a difference by considering our environment.

That is why it is perfect that I was contacted the other day by Micki. She convoed me on Etsy. She has started a blog on Canadian art, which specifically focuses on handmade culture in Canada. She is very interested in artists, designers, and makers who are eco friendly in their design and production. The blog is called You Can Talk to Birds. It is a new blog but I am excited to see how it evolves. Check it out if art and craft are your thing.

Fauve for Kids

On Thursday, I taught an art course at the Banff Public Library. It is the second time I have taught at the library, and I love to do it. The first course I taught was a mosaic mirror class, when Holly was still the librarian. Since then, Barbara has become the new librarian. I met her at my exhibit opening, and asked her to keep me in mind for kid's programming. She did! Tonya called me to ask if I would teach the class that she teaches on the first Thursday of each month, for November. She and several of the other librarians were planning to attend a conference in Calgary that day.

I love being asked to teach a class and then researching what I might teach. I gave Tonya the option of having me teach the kids about Fauve artists and having them paint portraits, or having them make color collages, where they select a color and then make a collage of items only in that color. We decided that because the kids are ages 6-11 years old that the cutting out of numerous objects might be too much for some of them, but that because she never has them paint, that would be a treat. She said that one hour is not generally enough time for painting, but I assured her that with small canvas boards and acrylic paint that it would be fine.

The local dollar store owner was nice enough to special order the canvas boards for me, which the kids like because they are more "real" than paper. On the day of the class, I had a nice older child help me to pass everything out, and in the end, instead of having 11 kids we had 13! I was happy to have extra materials to be able to welcome the extra kids. And a mom to help me change wash water, squirt out paints, and help when needed. Tonya had selected some amazing grown up art books I could use to show the kids examples of well known Fauve artists like Gauguin, Matisse, and Derain. Fauve means "wild beast" in French, and fauvists painted in a spontaneous manner, using bold colors, from about 1905-1908.

The kids got really excited when I explained that they could paint a portrait of a person or a pet or even a landscape using completely unusual colors. After sketching, they began to paint. In order to let the paint dry a bit, I read an awesome book, called "When Pigasso Met Mootisse" by Nina Laden.

I love the brilliantly colored pages and the fun story, I can't wait to check it out for Quin. After the story the kids painted a black outline around their painting. Then we read one more book. In the end, Tonya was in the building until the end of the class, and she was amazed by the behavior of the kids. They were excellent, even the one I know who is normally very loud. I take a very laid back approach when I teach art. I don't have a lot of rules, just a loose outline, and I want the kids to create what they feel. This usually results in a much more free and easy environment than when I have been stricter. My goal is for the kids to have fun, while learning, and for them to come to the library for both reading and creating. I was honored that Tonya and Barbara thought I had done such a great job, and I was so proud of the kids' work. We pulled it all off in an hour and the kids were proud to bring home their works of art, along with some new books about art.

I was inspired to teach this project after seeing a post on one of my new favorite blogs, Art Projects for Kids ....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dad and Sis Visit

I love it when my dad and little sister, Tillie, visit us. Quin is old enough now that she knows who they are and she gets very excited to see them. She won't let them out of her sight while they are staying with us. It is so heart warming.

One of the things I love most about having Dad and Tillie around is that we have about 3 days to just hang out and enjoy each other. They request that I make crepes for breakfast, which I love to make and eat. We had banana and pecan crepes the first morning, strawberry and raspberry crepes the second, and old fashioned thick buttermilk pancakes on the last morning, which Andre made. We are kind of the king and queen of breakfast foods. We rarely eat cereal or toast for breakfast, we tend to make the kind of foods that most people reserve for the weekends. It almost always involves cooking, except for our fresh fruit smoothies.

Dad and Tillie like to go for walks, to watch cartoons with Quin, to read books, oooohhhh books! My Aunt Helen, my dad's sis, introduced me to wonderful books as a child and thus began my love of books. Especially old vintage books with amazing illustrations. Naturally as a photographer, I loves spend time looking at photographs, but I most love books that have illustrations. Tillie, also has a love of books, thanks in part to Helen, and I am sure my Dad and her Mom. She is much more scientific than I am, so when her books are not fiction they are how things work and joke books, where as I being naturally curious about most things, also like the how things work titles and, of course, art books.

Dad, Tillie, Quin, and I all love to hunt for treasures. This means, we like the antique store, the thrift store, and any other sort of opportunity to rummage. The day they arrive was the last day of the very large and awesome annual church rummage sale at a church on Banff Avenue. Before teaching an art course at the library that day (see next post) I had gone and scored TONS of old books no one wants for like $10. The weekend turned out to be a lot about books...

On Friday, after I taught my morning ballet class, we went to Canmore to the thrift store, where I found an amazing beaded antique purse, and I bumped into Maureen, who went in the back to Wendy's station and came back with gifts for me! A French book for Quin, an old Polaroid camera, and an old movie camera. Thank you, thank you!! Then, we went to the antique store, which was basically a bust. The last three times we went there, a very kind and generous old gentleman was working. He loved the fact that my dad, myself, Tillie, and Quin, were all enjoying going out to look at historic things together. Dad would keep Quin on his shoulders, and look around with her, while Tillie, who is very outgoing, would ask the man about each and every little item that struck her fancy. He would tell her about it, then offer her deals on everything. It was so much fun, we could stay for well over an hour with no crabbiness or damage. Well, this time, a woman was working, and the minute she saw Tillie and Quin she just about freaked out. Quin was safe on Dad's shoulder's, but every time Tillie looked like she might touch something the woman would fly towards her and speak down to her in a screeching voice. She would look over to Dad and I like we should tell her to stop whatever she was doing but we pretended not to notice. Tillie is 10 years old, very conscientious, and respectful. She did nothing to make this woman become so suspicious and rude. And mind you this is not a high end antique shop with expenses items. I know when a child should be somewhere and when they should not. Anyway, we left, and had much more fun buying little birds on sticks that you put in plant pots from the florist next door.

On Saturday, Dad wanted to help us out with picking up a pillow top mattress for Quin and a double jogger stroller from Keleigh, who is moving. Dad bought the mattress for Quin's Christmas gift, and it is awesome! She still sleeps with us a lot but she is starting to enjoy her room and bed. Afterward, we went to the Canmore Friends of the Library Used Book Sale (just to continue our book theme). It was soooooo great that we had to leave after a half an hour or I would have brought home tons of books. Quin and Tillie picked some items, and I was thrilled to find tons of French books and some French videos for Quin. After a treat at Beamer's Coffee Shop we headed home with our spoils.

Andre was busy at work during their visit, he manages a ski area that opened for the season the same weekend, but he was able to join us for dinner out every night, which is also a nice luxury we enjoy with Dad. Thanks so much Dad for coming to see us! See you next month in Minnesota...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Visit and Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake

I haven't posted much this week. My father and little sister came to visit us from Minneapolis. They come to see us twice a year and we go to see them once at year. It is always so much fun to have them all to ourselves, where as when we go to Minneapolis we have to spread ourselves out amongst all of our friends and family. Dad and Tillie never stay long enough. Usually only three days. My dad has this quote, well actually he stole it from Benjamin Franklin, "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days". While this may apply to some, it doesn't apply to my Dad and Tillie. But, Dad, a dentist, is not yet retired and Tillie, who is only 10, is still in school, so that may have something to do with it. More on there visit in the next post, but on to the cake...

I bought a box of BC bartlett pears at the local grocery store for $2.89 or some such ridiculously low price!! While they were not quite ripe, I knew that as soon as they were I better come up with a plan. Even with my famiy eating 3 a day, that was not going to put a dent in this 7 liter box. I put out a call for pear recipes to my pals from the now defunct Create A Day blog (which is up and running as EveryDayCreate on Wordpress, more on this soon...). The same day Craft put out an awesome pear recipe in their daily news letter. I don't always open these on the same day they arrive, although I do always open them, because I LOVE them! So, thanks to Joonie, for pointing out the recipe....

The day my Dad and Tillie arrived, which was also the day of my grandmother's 87th birthday, Quin and I made this cake. It was then enjoyed for three nights in a row. It is AMAZING and I will make it again and again. I used up 7 pears, and got to eat cake shop quality cake for three days. Yum yum! Thanks to Craft and Seattlest for the recipe.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Pin by potatopotato on Etsy

I am proud to be an American in Canada today. Not something I could always say over the last 8 years I have been visiting and then living here. Most of my friends are celebrating today, althought I know it is a mix amongst my family. The craziest thing in American politics during this election is how it divided people, or at least the people I know, more than I have ever seen. I am almost afraid to put my happiness here on my blog, as the staunch republicans in my family may shame me, at least behind my back, if not to my face. But I really don't care what anyone has to say. I think this is a dawning of a new age in America. I feel a badly needed sense of hope. And I am proud that a black man made it into the White House during my lifetime. As one person on the radio put it, I think that Obama will be a "Great and good president."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fuzzy Gaiters, YEAH!!

I miss one of my bestest, most creative, funest friends, Karina, pretty much daily. She and I have spent much time together, empathizing about the joys and challenges of being full time artists. She is in Ottawa, I am in Banff. She has come to visit, I go there to visit, we have met up in San Miguel de Allende. We have worked on projects together in her studio, and she brought delectable delights over to my home on her motorcycle when I first had Quin, and we would kick back and chat and drink tea. She and I have traded work. And bought each other gifts, like the adorable teeny turquoise and red satin Mary Janes she brought Quin back from Amsterdam. We send each other show cards for our lastest exhibits. It is hard to not think of her, since many corners of my home include her work. She inspires me, and I hope I do the same for her. ANYWAY... we keep up on what the other is doing with the help of our blogs. So, when my reader showed this link the other night, I was thrilled to see she has finally put some of her clothing and accessory line online!! This certainly helps me, being on the other end of Canada. Anyway, K, has the most wonderful and adorable gaiters for sale, and what does a pregnant woman in Banff need this winter more than anything? That's right, FUZZY GAITERS!! I went immediately to her shop, got my hand on the only pink and orange pair, made with fur she bought on a recent trip to New York. I love this color combo ever since I had my daughter. I found out the next day I was K's first online sale EVER! Yippee! WhoooooooWhoooooo! Now, I just sit back and wait for my new fashion accessory. It was all so easy and I am so happy. I think Quin needs a pair...