Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It's here! My amazing friend, Katherine Sandford & I made a baby! A bouncing baby Book. We named it "Oh, Baby", a 21 page book that features poetry and photographs for mothers or anyone who has a mother. Warning: If you are a mother, do not read this without plenty of tissues nearby. It truly is the PERFECT Mother's Day Gift.
"Oh, Baby" is available for purchase via the self publishing site Lulu. You can preview the first 10 pages of our book here. It is $20 plus shipping. To avoid shipping costs you can pick up a copy of the book at the following locations; In Chelsea, Quebec at Doozy Candle, La Boulangerie, & Chelsea Books; in Wakefield at Solstice Books; in Ottawa at Mother Tongue Books & Cube Gallery; in Banff at Cozy Cave Bake Shoppe; in Canmore at All Bottoms Covered. More locations coming soon. You can also contact me if you would like to buy the book locally through me. Just leave a comment on this post.
10% of the profit of Oh,Baby! will be donated to Roger's House which provides a "home away from home" for children with life-limiting illness and their families, in memory of Maya Stewart.
We have some special events related to the book coming up, including one in Quebec, on Mother's Day, May 9th. Please stay tuned...
Saturday, April 24, 2010
On Wednesday we held a fundraiser for the Banff Community Greenhouse. I am on the committee and this fundraiser was the culmination of many meetings and lots of effort. And it was flawless! It was held at the Banff Legion. The weather was AMAZING and all the hot mamas in town showed up in their little sundresses. There was Crazy Larry, our local balloon animal guy and kid favorite. There was tons of food from tons of local restaurants, for $5 a plate, along with organic beef burgers on the patio for $2 each. There were many generous silent auction donations from 12 cupcakes from Cozy Cave Bakehouse to a gorgeous mosaic entitled "I Chose to Grow" by my amazing friend, Cindy Gibson, to a four person VIP ski day at Mount Norquay to a 3 day $5,000 heliskiing package from CMH (if I had a list of everything I would mention it all). There was a drawing for one of the greenhouse spaces. And a worm composting demonstration for adults, along with one for kids that involved gummy worms, oreo cookie dirt, and chopsticks. There was a garden talk by a local arborist. There were tunes spun by a local DJ. And there was me, at the craft table, over seeing tons of kiddos designing, cutting, gluing, and coloring everything from terracotta pots to collages to garden themed coloring sheets. And did I mention, there were balloons! And that at last count we had made more than $8,000!! For more on the greenhouse, I will include all the details after our next meeting...
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Earlier this month I blogged about the Altered Book Show currently at the Banff Public Library. Myself and artists, Jane Newman, Cindy Gibson, Mojo Anderson, Pat Allin and Zoe Nelson, have 12 books on display for the month of April. Michelle Macullo wrote an article about the exhibit in last week's Rocky Mountain Outlook. Thanks, Michelle! We will be having a closing party for the event on Sunday, April 25th, from 7-9 PM. It is open to the public, bring a friend, come eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy some amazing art!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I am on the committee to try to bring a community greenhouse to Banff. Tomorrow we will be having a fundraiser for our cause...
"Spring is in the air and the Banff Community Greenhouse Committee wants you to get growing!
Join us at the Banff Legion on April 21st, 2010 from 3:30-9:30. Family activities are planned from 3:30-6:30. Come and plant a seed, get green thumb tips, paint a pot, bid on amazing auction items (CMH heli-hiking trip), listen to music, eat, drink and help get this building off the ground!
For more information about the event or to make a financial donation please contact Community Greenhouse project contact, Nancy Lewis at 403-762-1254 or email at email@example.com".
You can access the event invite on Facebook here. Please come out and show your support if you can. I will post a report and more info in the weeks to come.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I ALWAYS have my eye out for craft and art how-to books, both new and vintage. I was surprised to find I had overlooked this book from 2005, in our local library. Bazaar Bizarre: Not Your Granny's Craft Book by Greg Der Ananian is worth a read. In fact I was more impressed by the writing in the book than in the actual crafts. This book is unique in its format. I like that it was written by a guy, that there are fun photos of the contributing crafters, that he gave the same interview to each of them, that he takes a historical look at crafting between each how-to craft, and that he suggests good music and movies to watch while making each craft and that there are even some recipes. What I don't like are that the steps of the projects are drawings and that the middle section that features color photos of some of the finished crafts only features SOME of them. I am a photographer by trade and I prefer photographs of the step by step and finished crafts. But at $16.95 US, the price is right.
As for the crafts, they are pretty mediocre, but maybe that is because this book is 5 years old so a lot of these crafts are old news (sock monkeys, vinyl cuffs, dirty cross stitch, and marble magnets). Or too involved for me (why would I take the time to MAKE my own set of playing cards that look JUST LIKE an old deck I got at the thrift store?!). I adored Der Ananian from the moment I read the dedication page, which had a big "I Love You Mom" graphic faded behind a hand written like font that reads, "This book is for my mother, Priscilla Der Ananian, who once told me I was the closest thing to a daughter she'd ever have. I love you, Mom." His two pages of acknowledgments are sweet, sincere, and funny. He reveals that he found out he had a golf-ball sized tumor in his brain during the late stages of this book. I am grateful he is ok now, because aside from boring (sorry) crafts, this book is one that I would add to my collection. It is extremely funny, at times laugh out loud funny, both thanks to Der Ananian's humor and that of his contributing crafters.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I have a few recipes that are so universally appealing that every time I make them I am asked for the recipe. One is for almond flour scones. Another one is for our family crepe recipe. And a third is my energy bars, which I was kind of shocked to figure out I have not posted about before.
If you are an energy bar fan you are will love these, because, well, they taste a lot better than packaged bars. And if you are not an energy bar fan you will love these because they, well, don't taste like packaged energy bars. They are chocolaty, nutty, sweet without being too sweet, and energizing. Packaged energy bars give me energy but I would rather eat cardboard. My friend, Heidi, made these for my blessingway, two days before I gave birth to my second child last May, and we have been making them regularly ever since. My 3 year old, my hubby, and I, all love them. As do anyone I have ever made them for. AND they are gluten free, IF you use gluten free rice cereal like Erewhon Crispy brown rice or puffed rice cereal(rice krispies are not gluten free because they contain barley malt). Also, oats are gluten free but are often processed in factories with items that contain gluten. Make sure you buy truly gluten free oats.
3/4 cups smooth organic peanut butter
3/4 cups liquid honey
1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Cocoa Camino which is organic and fair trade)
1 1/2 cups organic quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1 1/4 cups rice crispies (I use brown rice cereal)
1 cups dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds
- In a med/large saucepan, combine peanut butter, honey & cocoa and cook over low heat until smooth.
- Remove from heat & stir into the saucepan the oatmeal, cereal, cranberries & almonds. You can use your hands.
- Into a well-buttered 8x8 pan, firmly press the mixture, cover & chill in fridge an hour or two. Cut, eat & enjoy!
Our family enjoys going to art exhibitions, and we tend to go to a lot of them due to my profession. And while these events are often more geared to adults, on Saturday evening we went to a special event where the art was for children. Local Banff artist, Max Elliott, whom I have been a part of the Banff Public Library's Women's Art Show with for the last three years, has just released a children's book! I got a bit of a heads up that she was creating for a picture book at my Library show opening last fall. I was looking forward to seeing the finished book and was excited when Max invited us to her opening and book signing. It all took place at the Whyte Museum on the same evening painter, Robert Sinclair, had an opening. The place was packed! We made our way downstairs to where Max was signing her book, surrounded by the artwork from the book on the walls of the Swiss Guides Room.
Canadian Rocky ABC is a lovely ABC book about life in the Rockies. The illustrations are in mixed media, about 30 in all (as some are a double page spread). I love the idea of seeing each page's artwork framed at an exhibition where the book is being sold. I have never been to a show like that. Quin & I waited in line to congratulate Max and to have her sign our book. It was special for both of us and as an artist I felt so excited for Max, who must have been on cloud nine with such a large number of local supports there to cheer on the completion and presentation of an amazing project. Yah, Max!
Artist & Author Max Elliott with Quin
Saturday, April 10, 2010
A couple of days ago I saw a robin red breast land on the freshly fallen snow. It made me smile and roll my eyes at the irony of what is called spring in our area. We seem to have had more snow since the first day of spring than we had all winter.
For my three year old daughter's Easter bunny gift, I bought a cake from my friend, Alannah's, amazing bakery, Cozy Cave Bakehouse. My 10 month old and I walked to town in a spring blizzard to buy it (another spring blizzard, more irony). What I love about Alannah's creations, next to the taste, is how beautiful they look and how much attention to detail she puts in the packaging. I could have bought anything chocolate that day but I bought the cake because we could share it, it was indeed a chocolate egg, and because of the vintage egg shaped box it came in. Thanks to Cozy Cave we have one awesome Easter bunny who comes to our house. He also brought the most delicious iced sugar cookies...
Friday, April 9, 2010
Last week I discovered a new kitchen blog. I read a lot of cooking blogs so I was thrilled to find out that a local kitchen store where I shop has their own blog. Kitchen Boutique has locations in Canmore and Cochrane. I have bought everything from a cast iron crepe pan to Epicurean cutting boards to heart shaped cookie cutters from them. We don't live in a area with big box stores, something I am grateful for because I like to be able to support small local businesses. I think of Kitchen Boutique whenever I am needing something specific for my kitchen that I can't wait for or don't think I can find at the thrift shop.
And now that I know they have a blog I will think of them even more. Their blog is a mix of recipes, cooking and kitchen related tips, product features, and store news. They also have giveaways. In fact, I won four food savers (the garlic one is on order) on their blog by reading the giveaway posts and posting comments on each topic. Aren't they adorable? And functional. I am always put leftover onions, tomatoes, and peppers in reusable containers but now I can use these containers that help me easily identify and keep them fresher longer.
And talk about service! Claire, one of Kitchen Boutique's owners, hand delivered my prizes to me on the Friday of Easter weekend. I believe she lives in Cochrane and I am so glad she was coming to my area and willing to drop them off because I got to meet her in person. Thanks, Claire!
If you don't live in my area you can still enjoy the Kitchen Boutique blog. Recent posts include tips on how to make a show piece meringue, the right wine glass to use for what wine, and how to throw a raclette party (something I was excited to read since we were given a raclette for a wedding gift in 2003 and we still need to use it!).
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
My creative, crafty friend, Maureen, gave me a copy of The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lydon, with a box of supplies she had cleaned out of her space. I am not a knitter but she mentioned it is a book many creative people could related to. It piqued my interest and thanks to its small size I was able to read it over about one week of bedtime readings. Here is one quote I like because I sometimes suffer from "drunken monkey" and creating art calms her down ;)
"The purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind so that it can sink down into contemplation of its true nature. You cannot stop your mind by an act of will any more than you can stop the beating of your own heart. Some cultures describe mind as a drunken monkey, reeling from place to place with no rhyme or reason. Like meditation/ knitting calms the monkey down....I believe that in the quiet/ repetitive, hypnotic rhythms of creating craft, the inner being may emerge in all its quiet beauty. The very rhythm, of the knitting needles can become as incantatory as a drumbeat or a Gregorian chant."
I really enjoyed this book. When I looked it up on Amazon, to link it in this post, I noticed that other readers either loved it or hated it. It is difficult for me to describe the book in a nutshell so here is a review...
"This small, quite wonderful book shows all that knitting and meditation have in common--and it's more than some might suspect. In short essays, Lydon, a longtime knitter and dabbler in spiritual disciplines, winds her way through spiritual quests, physical problems, and, of course, yarn. Any knitter will readily identify with Lydon's take on the frustrations of knitting--the sweaters that don't fit, the half-finished projects that litter the house--but she also takes readers beyond the finished project and shows them how to appreciate the process. Seeing knitting as a road to contemplation may surprise some readers--perhaps even a few knitters--but by the end of Lydon's journey, most will agree that knitting "is the simplest and most ordinary of activities, yet somehow it mysteriously contains within itself the potential for expanding our conscious awareness." Ilene Cooper
If you do read or have read this book I would love to hear what you think of it...
Monday, April 5, 2010
I mentioned these cakes in this post about quiche. These cakes make a wonderful brunch dessert or even breakfast. You can cover them with fresh whipped cream but I like them drizzled with real maple syrup.
Buttermilk Pudding Cakes
By Martha Stewart (Here is the link to her recipe). I did 1.5 times her recipe so I could make 12 (since the muffin pan makes 12). This makes my recipe a bit wonky but I have typed it out below. I have to say these don't seem like pudding cakes to me. They were a bit dense but they were yummy. I didn't let my melted butter cool to room temp which probably changed the texture.
- 1 plus 1/8 cup sifted all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 plus 1/8 cup cup whole or low-fat buttermilk (I used whole)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 14 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- Nonstick cooking spray (I used butter)
- 3 cups fresh raspberries (I used strawberries & kiwi)
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack positioned in the top third of the oven.
2. Sift together flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In another large bowl beat eggs until creamy and yellow. Whisk in buttermilk, vanilla, 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, and butter (mixture will look curdled and broken). Slowly add flour and whisk until batter is smooth and combined.
3. Spray 8 standard-size (3-ounce) nonstick muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin pan cups, filling about two-thirds full. Transfer to oven and bake until sides of cakes are evenly browned (check by inserting a knife tip between the rim of cake and muffin cup, pulling gently to expose side of cake), about 9 minutes. If cakes are not evenly browned, they will not hold together when inverted. Continue baking, checking every minute, until evenly browned.
4. Meanwhile, place raspberries in a medium bowl; add remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and gently toss to coat.
5. Invert cakes onto twelve individual plates. Place berries on top and alongside cakes; serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Last weekend, we had some friends over for Sunday brunch (or whatever you call the meal between lunch and dinner, perhaps, lunner?) I made quiche. So yummy, so easy! Our friends brought over a salad of mixed greens, goat cheese, and strawberries, sooooooo good! We also made some delicious little buttermilk cakes for dessert. Here I have posted two quiche recipes. I have been on quite the quiche making kick lately. I made some these again last night for my visiting in laws. I will blog about the dessert in a couple of days...
I have a gas oven and live in the mountains so it takes 40 - 50 minutes for my quiches to bake. Start checking yours for signs of browning and puffiness around 30 minutes...
Cheddar Mushroom Quiche
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 red onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded (4 oz)
1 9 inch deep dish pie shell
Preheat over to 375 degrees. In a large fry pan, heat oil on medium heat and saute onions and mushrooms for 10 minutes or until wilted. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, milk, salt, mustard and pepper. Mix the egg mixture with the mushrooms. Sprinkle the cheese on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden and puffy. Cool before serving.
3 eggs beaten lightly
1.5 cups shredded Gouda (6 oz/175 g)
1 can salmon (7 1/2 oz)
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
3 Tbsp finely chopped celery
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup light cream or whole milk
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 9 inch deep dish pie shell
Heat oven 375. Toss together cheese, salmon, onion, celery, dill and salt. Put into unbaked pie shell. Combine eggs and cream, pour over salmon mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 40 -45 minutes or till the knife comes out clean.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Books by Cindy Gibson
I am excited to be part of a month long altered book show at the Banff Public Library. During April, 12 altered books will be on display art and book lovers to peruse. The books are the result of a class, taught by Jane Newman, at the library last fall. Newman, has four books on display, and the other eight are from the students. I have one book in the show. It is a tribute to my grandfather who passed away last September, entitled "Goodbye My Loving Grandfather (fly away home). It contains a Polaroid passport photo from the 1970s, amongst other personal belonging. In my next post I will show you my book in more detail...
Here are a few images of the exhibit. The Banff Public Library is at 101 Bear Street. There will be a closing party for the show on Thursday, April 29th, from 7 -9 PM. The artists participating in the show are Mojo Anderson, Cindy Gibson, Zoe Nelson, Pat Allin, and Tiffany Teske, and Jane Newman.
Book by Cindy Gibson
Book by Tiffany Teske
Book by Tiffany Teske
Friday, April 2, 2010
I enjoy the time I spend with my elders at the local senior's residence, Mount Edith House. I visit them from time to time to teach crafts with the Banff Senior Support Coordinator, Sue Smythe. Easter is always a fun time for crafts and this week, Sue and I stopped over with two dozen blown and dyed eggs each (it is a wonder I have any brains left after all that blowing...). We then proceeded to make the cutest little group of chicken, bunny, and chicken-in-bunny-disguises I have ever seen. Give it a whirl this weekend. All you need are dyed eggs, felt, and some imagination. Fun will be had by all!
How to boil eggs: Place the eggs in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to
completely cover the eggs. Place on medium-high heat and bring water to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer eggs for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and fill with cold water. The eggs must be completely cool and dry to decorate successfully.
A note on dying eggs: You can use food coloring and water to dye your eggs. Red food coloring turns your eggs pink and red and blue make purple. Both of these colors will produce good results with just the food coloring. For the best yellow, green, and blue you should add vinegar... Combine 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of food coloring with 2 tsp. vinegar in a cup that is deep enough for the eggs. Add water to about the half way point. Gently place the eggs into the cups. The longer they are left in the dye, the darker the color.
How to blow eggs: You can see my post on onion skin dyed eggs from last year. These eggs will float in the dye water so you need to such fresh water in through the hole until it is quite full to weight the eggs down in the dye water.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Are you looking for affordable original art? I am currently selling some of my Polaroid 669 prints at The Last Temptation Thrift Store at 229 Bear Street in Banff. They are $10 each or two for $15, straight off the wall. If you can't make it to the shop you can view my work on Etsy or contact me via a comment below.