Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Little Angel

My daughter has a flair for drama. She loves to play dress up and is starting to really take off when it comes to frolicking in the land of make believe. Her imagination is rich, thanks to all the books we have read and all the creative experiences she is able to take part in. My heart smiles at many of the things she says and does while in her own world. Kids are absolute sponges. It keeps me on my toes and best behavior, which is good. I could not resist grabbing my Spectra to snap this Polaroid of her, as a fairy, ready to fly off on her next adventure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Etsy Baby Shower - Part 3 - Sew Classic

Pink and Brown Kimono from Sew Classic on Etsy
Image by Tiffany Teske

I can't believe that my little babe is already 8 weeks old! To celebrate this fact I brought out a very sweet gift from her closet and had a little photo shoot. This adorable kimono was one of four gifts I received from the Etsy Baby Shower this spring. You can read about two of the other gifts here and here. Kennis Wong of Sew Classic made this gorgeous and versatile robe and sent it all the way from Australia, the same week she had given birth to HER OWN LITTLE BABY! That makes this gift all the more special; it was made by another mother who went to great lengths to send it to my baby. We absolutely adore it and Emmanuelle will be wearing it often. It will then be kept for future children, both my own and of others close to me, then put away for my daughter to cherish. Thank you, Kennis, and to all the other Estians who were generous enough to make us handmade items that we can hold onto and love well into the future. I am still blown away that none of these kind and talented souls even knew us before the shower!

Image by Sew Classic

If you interested in purchasing a kimono from Sew Classic you can find out more details here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cooking With Love for a New Arrival - My Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

On Friday, my children were absolute angels while I cooked up a storm for close to 5 hours. Aside from nursing, we spent our time measuring, mixing, baking, and cooking. A good friend of ours had her second child on Tuesday and the thing that I appreciated the most 2 months ago when my second child was born (sheesh, two months has FLOWN by!) was when people took the time to make us food. Cooking for someone is really a gift, not only because it is nourishing to their tummies at a time when they have better things to do than cook, but also because you think of the people the whole time you are cooking for them, so you are putting good energy and love into the food. I want to teach these things to my girls and the best way is to be an example by doing them and to have them join me.

The Menu
In five hours we were able to make:
Our own pancake breakfast
Energy Bars (Gluten Free)
Chicken Salad with Broccoli, Red Peppers, and Parmesan Dressing
Hummus and Carrots (the recipe is here)
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

The Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is my own recipe that I developed from the advice of a friend and from some recipes I have read. It is delicious and I doubled it so we could have some, too.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
by Tiffany Teske

2 C rhubarb
2 C strawberries
2/3 C sugar
1/2 t lemon juice
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon

1 C unbleached flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C quick cook oatmeal
1/2 C unsalted butter, melted

Combine berries with sugar, lemon juice, and spices. Put mixture in a greased 8x12 inch baking dish. Mix dry topping ingredients together and drizzle melted butter over it, mixing well with a fork or your hand. Sprinkle topping over the berries. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, it is done when it is bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Our new little friend, whom I am holding here, is named Fox Royal. She is adorable!

I am fascinated by the tiny ears and fingernails on newborns. When my first daughter was born I could not get over how round her little ears were. They were like perfect little coins. And I really wanted to make a photograph of my second daughter's pinkie fingernail on my pinkie fingernail, but now she has grown so much. So, I did it with Fox and her Mama.

Fox was born at 7 pounds, the same as my little one, but look at my little one, now! So much changes in two months. Here are the proud older siblings with our babes.

It was a privilege to be able to see our newest little friend at only three days old. I am glad we were invited into their home to celebrate a bit with them. And what would a celebration be on a hot summer day without a watermelon? :)

I love to cook when it is fun and relaxed, which is what it was on this day. A good memory for us, both in the making and in the delivering.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bamboo Pendants for Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine

So much to post, always so little time...

I made this pendants back in April for a charm swap that was hosted by Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine. Participants could make up to five charms and then receive the same number that they made back from other participants.

I wanted my pendants to be unique from what other people made so each one showcases one of my Polaroid transfer images on a bamboo tile. These are the same pendants that I sell in my Etsy shop but I added some beads and fiber elements.

I was quite happy with them and hope the people who received them felt the same. I put each pendant in a organza gift bag along with some loose beads in the same color palette and a business card (which was asked for by the magazine for ID purposes). I packaged them up in a box which I covered with sheets of the color copies I use when I make the pendants. The September/October issue will showcase a bunch of the charms and I am hoping that mine may have caught their eye.

I have no idea if most people made five of the same charms or if they made individual ones like I did. I will blog about the ones I received in a separate post, as I would like to make something out of them soon... I would also like to write a tutorial on making bamboo pendants at some point, which I will post for free here, but will also sell in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mary Catherine - Shots Submission

Pardon the pun, but I always seem to get "shot down" by Shots Magazine. Here is the lastest image or collage of images that were not selected for the latest issue. I will keep on trying. It is such an excellent magazine. Check it out if you have not. Better yet, subscribe. These amazing small mags are disappearing one by one, we can't let that happen!!

Goodbye, Michael Jackson...

I am not really all that into celebrity culture. In fact, I would not be a celeb (well, maybe an ART or Craft celeb) if you paid me a million dollars. If I see one common thread that runs through MOST, not all, celebrity, it is that there is never enough money, fame, drugs, whatever. And no one is really happy, especially not in love. Of course, I only know what I see on magazine covers, which are not reliable sources, so maybe they really are all happy... Sadly, I am not too sure about Michael Jackson's level of happiness. And the only reason I am writing a blog post dedication to him, is that he truly was my first heart throb. Yes, before I loved River Phoenix, Axl Rose, Prince, or Johnny Depp, I loved Michael Jackson. I had this poster of him on the wall in my room and I (no kidding) kissed it before I went to bed at night. I wanted to be Brooke Shields. I watched Thriller so many times (not an easy feat back then, I had to rent it from the movie store and later had to tape it on the VCR, and replay it! MTV started in late 1981 but we didn't have cable...) that I still can see it playing in my head when I listen to that song. Thriller was genius, and I still love Vincent Price... anyway, MJ was a BIG part of my young life. I was just contacted on Facebook the other day by a friend from 5th grade who was getting in touch because of his death. She remembered how much he meant to us both back then. I must admit that by junior high I no longer had a thing for Michael. From time to time I would like one of his new songs. And I always thought of him fondly. I was shocked to read on my inlaws computer during a recent visit that he had died. I was uploading our trip photos and just happened to open a window that announced it. I was shocked, and saddened. Thanks for the memories, MJ... RIP.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pick-Your-Own Berries

One of the activities I looked forward to each year, while living in Western Maine, was the opportunity to pick my own seasonal produce. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, pumpkins... sometimes I picked at a farm, other things, such as fiddle head ferns, I could just pick in the woods. Daily, I could drive by small farms that had stands at the end of their driveways with corn, potatoes, whatever was the current crop. Plus, one of my best friends would give me the eggs her chickens laid. At one point I even had vegetable garden and completed the Master Gardener course...

Our daughter has spent most of her three years in Banff where we are lucky to have two local farmers markets but what they sell is not terribly local, it mostly comes from British Columbia. Alberta is rancher country but in Banff there are not any local pick-your-own farms (what I wouldn't do for farm fresh eggs!) so aside from an annual stop at a farm that makes ice cream on the way to Kelowna, my child only knows what she reads in books, from playtime with her wooden barn, and what we tell her about farms. She thinks strawberries and the like come from the grocery store. So, while visiting my in laws in Ottawa, I was thrilled that it was strawberry season. I knew we just had to take her picking. We drive less than 10 minutes away to the Prouxl farm. We met a school bus coming down the drive which I imagined was full of children fresh from picking. Once we got there the stand was open but the fields were closed. My father in law explained that we had a little one who really wanted to pick strawberries and the generous family gave us baskets, had their son walk us to the field, and QQ was thrilled to spend a small part of a sunshiny afternoon filling her basket with berries. It is a lovely memory...

Walking through the patch with Grandma.

Look at what I have! Strawberries!!

Gobbling up the rewards of the pickings... Yum!

If you are lucky enough to pick some fresh berries I suggest you make these (you can make them with store bought berries, too).

Strawberry Corn Muffins
Recipe by Vegetarian Times

Ingredient List
Makes 12 muffins

* 1 cup cornmeal
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 Tbs. baking powder
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
* 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
* 1 cup sliced strawberries


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in separate bowl. Stir cornmeal mixture into egg mixture. Fold in melted butter and strawberries. Scoop batter into muffin pan.
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops are brown. Cool 10 minutes in pan; cool completely on baking rack.

Nutritional Information

Per SERVING: Calories: 160, Protein: 4g, Total fat: 3g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 28g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 270mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 10g

All Photos by Tiffany Teske

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lovely Flowers

Since having Le Belle Emmanuelle 6 weeks ago, I have been so behind on posts, which bums me out, because there are even more wonderful things I could be posting about than before. Playing catch up, I better just get used to it. I have never been more excited about my life; 2 happy, healthy, amazing daughters, my completely made for me husband, living in a beautiful and inspiring place, incredible friends, life is good... I need to hit the bed, since my little one actually sleeps like an angel once she falls asleep around midnight. I will leave you with some pretty images of a monstrously large bouquet that was generously sent to us upon Elle's birth. Next to handmade gifts, flowers, and food are my favorite. What a treat! Merci beaucoup!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What's For Dinner?

Image by Vegetarian Times

Try this delicious dinner for two.

Edamame Rice Bowls
Recipe by Vegetarian Times

Ingredient List

Serves 2

* 1/2 cup brown rice
* 1 8-oz. bag frozen shelled edamame
* 1/4 cup dried cranberries
* 2 oz. crumbed feta
* 10 pitted kalamata olives, halved
* 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro
* 1 Tbs. olive oil
* 1 Tbs. lime juice
* 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


1. Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil, stir in rice, and season with salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.
2. Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil, add edamame, and cook 2 minutes, or until tender; drain and set aside.
3. Toss together rice, edamame, cranberries, feta, olives, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, and red pepper flakes in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information

Per SERVING: Calories: 540, Protein: 20g, Total fat: 24.5g, Saturated fat: 6g, Carbs: 63g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 778mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugars: 14g

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Fun - Making Bubbles - Homemade Bubble Solution

Everytime someone gives my daughter bubbles from the store, I think, "I should check out how to make refills for these. It can't be that hard." Finally, I have gotten around to it. My good friend, Hannah, recently visited us from Colorado. She is a artsy craftsy girl, whom I have had lots of fun with over the years. She has experience in bubble making so she gave me the following link to some good homemade bubble solution recipes. They are on a site called The Bubble Blowers Museum. Check it out, it is super fun! Everything you ever wanted to know about bubble blowing...

I decided to use the first recipe in the link. It is very simple to make bubble solution and my three year old had fun helping. We used Sunlight dish washing liquid, although Hannah insists that Joy is the best, I couldn't find any. The Sunlight works well. And my daughter loves that the bubble solution is colored instead of clear. I found 100% vegetable glycerin at my local health food store for about $6 for the bottle, which should make many many more batches of bubbles. I cut this recipe in half, since a gallon of bubble solution is A LOT. I need to find a gallon jug for the future. Bubble solution makes a nice small gift for the kids in your life. In a future post I will explore making homemade wands for blowing, as well as packaging for gift giving. These bubbles work great! My only complaint is that they are not completely non toxic. I want to explore bubbles made from natural soaps. That way if a little one gets some in their mouth or eyes all will be ok. If anyone has any experience with this please leave me a comment...

Exploratorium Bubble Formula
from the Exploratorium web site
2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
1 gallon water
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin (available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

The photos below were part of the inspiration for my finally making bubble solution. We just returned home from a visit to see good friends and family. While there, my daughter was taught by her little friend, E, some of the joys of making bubbles with increased wind power! E's daddy brought out a fan and they spent a ton o' time making jet propelled bubbles. So sweet!

Yesterday my husband actually pointed out a sale on "bubble making fans" in a store flyer. We will never look at a fan in the same way again...

Images by Tiffany Teske

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Happy birthday, Canada! Once again, the weather in Banff was good (second time in three years) and we were able to spend a lovely day partaking in Canada Day celebration. We even took in two parades, the one in Canmore, and in Banff. The fireworks are going off outside our window as we speak, QQ didn't make it until the 11 PM kick off. We used to celebrate this fun day in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and next to there, Banff is the best place in Canada to soak in the spirit of the day.