Nov 11, 2012

Frentures- Day 20!

Bet you thought I forgot!!!!  Finally, finally, FINALLY I am returning to share the last few days of our summer trip:

We set out with the plan of visiting the Citadel this day, but in true vacation meander fashion, another great opportunity popped up while we were en route. On our way through old Quebec, we were drawn in by a town crier- like invitation to come and watch a firearms demonstration.  Who can say no to the possibility of a shoot-out at high noon?

 And so we followed this guy to a little park just off the road. He narrated as a couple of other fellows demonstrated the million steps it took to fire off a musket.

They were very disciplined, and quick! Some volunteers tried to match the experienced guys later- it was quite funny!

After the firearms demonstration we were told of a more thorough tour of the old fort armoury and artillery museum.  We learned a lot about the cannons that are all over the old town, and Avery participated in a drill to prepare one for firing. We learned it took 4 people to work each cannon, and that everyone had a specialized job. 

We learned more about life on the base- about the recruitment practices and soldiers who stayed here. About the conditions and hardships. We toured officer's quarters and Avery got to try on a French officer's uniform- a wooly and heavy contraption wore in all seasons. We learned that they never took baths because they believed that a layer of dirt and sweat and yuck acted as a barrier to disease. It reminded me of a story my Grandma told from her days as a young nurse, where some old bachelor dude would come to the hospital once a year for a bath, and his underwear would be actually stuck to his skin. Those poor nurses had to soak him and peel the layers off....

Fortunately the tour guide was not authentic in all practices. Avery was quite engaged with him, and chatted his ear off...

We spent so much time at the artillery museum that time got away from us. We made it to the citadel just after the last tour was allowed in.  That gave us the chance to head for an early supper at a restaurant we had our eye on right from the first day we were in Quebec City. Restaurant aux Anciens Canadiens is housed in one of the very oldest building in Quebec City, built in 1675. The interior is all stone and old wood and low ceilings. It is a very expensive place to eat, but is well regarded and serves traditional Quebec fare. We could go because they have a (relatively) more reasonable dinner offering before the main supper rush. 

Our meal was marvellous! So glad we could eat here. Mark had meat pie (naturally!), I ate a duck confit, and Avery had.... wait for it.... poutine!

Well fed, and pleased with our day in Quebec City:0)

Nov 5, 2012

Explore Everything

Originally published under "Tuesday with the Team"
(but reprinted here so I can gather all my stuff together)

Hello! I had so much fun with the project, and can’t wait to share it with you.  I even remembered to take photos along the way, so you can see the process and hopefully feel encouraged to jump in and try a photo canvas of your own.

Here is a list of things that I used: Canvas (any kind is fine), leftover chipboard letters, gesso, assortment of inks (I used Clearsnap’s Spritz and pigment inks. I like how ‘inky’ the spritz is, rather than watery and I like the smooshy-ness of the pigment ink.), a mask, stamps, a few embellishments and SUPER good adhesive (I used Be Creative tape.).

Ready? Here we go!

1) Lay out your chipboard letters, making sure to accommodate your photo(s). When you are happy, remove the photo and stick down your letters. The colors do not matter, just size, font and leftoverness, because….

2) …you are going to cover everything with gesso! Why? I did it for two reasons- or maybe even three.  The gesso is like a primer; it will take the color we want everything to be happily. And it covers up the colors we don’t want.  It also gives me a chance to play with texture. I wanted the letters to end up looking like they are emerging from the canvas, not sitting on the canvas.

I did use a popsicle stick to spread some of the gesso around, but also got in there with my fingers to make sure the middle of letters and edges etc were covered the way I wanted, to the depth I wanted.  Don’t worry about getting messy- you are washable!!!  It’s a brilliant design, really…

3) Then add a little texture. I used a bit of plastic wrap and dabbed it everywhere, creating a rough, kinda-brick-like texture.  You could also create textures with stamps, stencils… whatever!

You are going to have to let this bit dry.  Probably overnight.

4) Okay! All dry, and now you are ready to add your own colors.  Currently, my daughter’s favorite color is purple, so of course that was what I made sure was part of my color palette.  I first spritzed ‘River Mossy’ over the whole background, and then layered ‘Wine Berry’ on top using the brick stencil.

5) Now we are having fun!!!  Wait for the spritz to dry. It won’t be long, I promise.  Add some more interest to the background by layering different color spots on with a stylus and foam tip applicator. I chose pigment inks for this job because they take a while to dry, giving you a chance to move it around, blend colors together and generally get it arranged to your satisfaction. Stamp some other images over top too!

I inked on top of one of the chipboard words to make it stand out for the title, then added some letter stickers to finish the title. The swirly stamp is from Unity.

6)  The background is done!  All you have to do is add your photo and embellishments. And then hang it:0)

The flowers and crystal swirl are from Prima, and the mosaic tiles are from Harmonie. I used a Fiskars border punch too.

Oct 29, 2012

Let's Get Sketchy Challenge (Oct 2012)

We have our toes on the finish line of the "Great Basement Reno 2012" and my scrappy stuff has paid penance and has been released from purgatory. The family room is set up again, complete with a functional craft area. I am not one to shut myself away to work on projects, so my table in the middle of the room is again my happy place!

With the return of my scrap table, I have been able to play again. I am feeling kind of rusty, like I have not exercised my play muscles enough.  But I played anyway, and came up with a kind of blindingly bright layout for Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine's October Sketch.

Cardstock: Bazzill; Ink: Clearsnap; Stamp: fontwerks (CDN); Masks: Prima, Heidi Swap; Washi Tape: Recollections; Letter Stickers: Heidi Swapp; Pen: American Crafts; Punches: Fiskars, EK Success, Martha Stewart. 

What fun I had creating this!  I used a large heart mask for the background, and inked the heart as well as the surrounding area with a bright ink and an ink applicator. Then I stamped through a brick pattern stencil with a small patterned stamp by fontwerks (how I miss this company!!!), embossed that and threw some glitter in for good measure.  The fabric rosette I made while working for Westcott at the Great Canadian Scrapbook Carnival this fall with the magazine. I did the make and take, where we turned these little cuties into rings!  (More on that another day, I promise.)

This is one of the pictures from our Quebec trip this summer.  One of the last days of our holiday, in Old Quebec, on the walkway overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

And that was so fun, I decided to do another!  I love sketches to get me going, especially when I am feeling as unexercised creatively as I have been. So, here is 'the sketch: take 2'!

Patterned Paper: Quick Quotes; Letters: Pink Paislee, Sassafrass Lass; Flowers and Metal: Prima; Art Deco Glass Effects Gel; Acrylic Tiles Harmonie (CDN) 

This is Avery's halloween costume from last year. She wanted to dress as one of the characters from Monster High, but we couldn't find anything that matched the picture in her head (*sigh*), so she decided that she would make up her own character!  We talked about different mythical witches, monsters and scary imaginings and she finally settled on Baba Yaga's daughter. I mean really, who wouldn't want to live in a house perched on chicken legs?  And we had a lot of fun putting together spooky-cute details for her costume.  Hello? Spiders in the hair! Hand and foot bones rattling on the hem of her skirt! A crow for a pet! A dog collar necklace! Cool spiderweb makeup!

See the spider webs on the layout? I made those with the Viva Decor Art Deco Glass Effects pen- love this stuff! 

Sep 2, 2012

Birds of a Feather...

Supply List:
Patterned Paper: Crate Paper, Bazzill
Dies: Spellbinders
Inks: Close to My Heart
Glitter: Pink Paislee, LaDiDa, Stampin' Up!
Chipboard: Stampin' Up!
Letters: American Crafts
Trim: Doodlebug Designs
Brads: Making Memories, Crate Paper, Harmonie (CDN)

I took some time to create this long weekend, using the new September Sketch from Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine.  This is my daughter with one of her best friends. These two rollick and laugh and talk full throttle in alphabets ("Hey BFF! I'll BRB. BTW, here's a cool...") the whole time they are together. Their energy is contagious and I love how their stream of consciousness interaction draws me into the moment, and out of my list head.  I hope to see what you create using the sketch too (Michelle, Sandy, Mei, Carla, Wendy, Mickey, Margaret, etc- you know who you are and I AM talking to you in particular!!!)

I had fun with my spellbinders dies creating these flowers. I used Bazzill patterned paper- the kind with an almost tissue like texture. I folded the sheet into thirds and could then cut three sets of flowers at a time.  The little petals curl up so nicely with just the edge of the scissors (kind of like curling ribbon). I originally was going to keep the flowers neutral, but these girls have too colorful personalities for that!  So I had to do some last minute coloring.  I didn't have spray inks in the colors I wanted, so I just took some of my Close to My Heart Dye inks and wiped the pads on a piece of wax paper. I then spritzed the ink puddle with Vanilla smooch and dabbed the color onto the flowers with an ink applicator. Ta Dah! Shimmery flowers in the colors I needed!

It was easy to match the little birdies- I just used the same inks:0)

And now for a little story behind the page.  This is my current scrap area.  It is in our living room, because we are doing some renovations downstairs where I usually scrap. A door was moved, so drywall dust is everywhere...

This is my scrap space right now.  We are getting ready to paint, so everything is moved to the center of the room, away from the walls. Although Avery keeps her toys down here, no one but me really hangs out in this space.

Look! A stash of scrappy things like an oasis in the middle of chaos.

This is the closet where my scrap stuff usually lives.  The corners are cut in with the new color. I have a shoe holder on the door for little odds and ends.

This is the counter where all my tools live, ready to use.  Where is everything, you might ask?

In the garage of course!!!!   This is the shelf that lives in the about-to-be-painted closet.

This is the sad pile of scrappy stuff, waiting for it's refreshed home!

So. Scrapping is an extra adventure these days!  It was entertaining to search for things I had in the garage or the pile of chaos downstairs.  But I am excited, for it will all be worth it when we have a great family room set up, complete with scrap space. I have found that I don't like to be isolated from the rest of my family to scrapbook and this set up is greatly anticipated! Until then, I think I get bonus points for extreme scrapbooking!

Aug 27, 2012

Pattypans in my garden, oh my!

picture from the internet. just wanted to show that they come in a range of colors so you know them when you see them! I grew the light green ones.

Anyone who has come within passing distance of me in the past month has probably been given some pattypan squash. Everyone has looked confused and when receiving said bounty, and the conversation always goes like this:

"Thank you!!!  Ummm... What is this?"

"It's a pattypan squash.  Basically, think zucchini when you look at it. You don't have to peel or seed it before cooking. It has a mild flavour, and can be cooked anyway you can imagine!"

"But. What do you do with it?"

So! To all of you that I have encountered, and all of you who I will encounter, and all of you who have stumbled on this blog because you have a healthy curiosity about pattypans, this is what you can do:

1. Steam them. By far the simplest and my favourite.  Throw them in an inch of water and cook them til they feel right when you poke them with a fork. Drain, and add buttersaltpepper. Delish!

2. Break out the Shake and Bake. Seriously. Slice. Coat. Bake. Easy-peasy!

3. Make soup. But don't be fussy about it. Cook pattypans in broth, then throw the whole works in a blender. Ta-dah! A delicate, sweet, light soup that even my kid liked!

of course, the sillies came out with the camera, but she did like the soup- honest!

4. Mix with other veggies from the garden, toss with a bit of olive oil and your favourite veggie spice and throw on the grill topper on the barbeque.

5. Like zucchini, they are good when they are small and they will grow to rather startling sizes if you take your eyes off of them for a second.  They are also good when they are large too.  You can even stuff and roast them.  I have not tried this recipe yet, but it looks like a gooder. Anything with bacon is good eats to me:0)  I think a quinoa stuffing would be good too. The nuttiness of the grain would pair well with the sweetness of the squash.

6. Roast them. On their own, or as part of a stew. Very yummy!

7. Eat them raw! This is my favorite in-the-garden snack, after peas. They are good added to salads. And in fact, we made coleslaw with grated pattypans too. Just use the pattypans in place of cabbage (or in addition to, if that is your whim) and make your coleslaw as per usual.

Or... what can you come up with? I want to know as I still have around a hundred kilograms of them around here:0)

Aug 24, 2012

Who Knew???

that I'd be cover girl material?????

I have to say that it is my absolute privilege to work with such an amazing team.  The laughs we have when we are working together gives me sore tummy muscles for a week. And behind the scenes are a group of amazing people who support, accept and uplift one another.  To have a small part of something so amazing humbles me. Maybe next I'll get a staple in my belly button, lol!

I can't wait for Carnival Time again!

Aug 12, 2012

Other bits of Summer...

We have been back from Quebec for three weeks now, and are finally starting to feel caught up. Immediately after we got home we repacked, slept briefly and hopped into our car for a trip to Chilliwack, BC to celebrate Grandma Derksen's life. It was a beautiful ceremony, and most of the large family was able to attend. It was great to visit with cousins, aunts and uncles and Mark's brothers (and their families), however brief.
at the church.

grandma is now right next to grandpa. 

a revisit of grandma's gravesite after the burial. 

oh boy! ceremonies over and now the cousins are free to be... cousins!

enjoyed a family dinner that evening with the whole (or close to) clan.

we stayed an extra night to spend time with family. we made blueberry tarts together....

walked the dog...

played at the park....

and enjoyed those tarts!

We got back from our impromptu trip to BC, visited our home and garden briefly before heading out to the lake for a pre-planned lake birthday party for Avery. We were lucky enough to head down the same weekend that the Vermillion fair was on, so we met mom, dad and Zxayven there. The kids went crazy on the rides and would still be sitting on spinning things if us big people didn't tire out.

the petting zoo. a million kittens and bunnies, all available for people to take home if they wanted. friends of ours did just that, and we got to meet Oreo the kitten the next day.

kids were too involved in rides for us to enjoy the chuckwagon races for long, but the little we did see was thrilling!

one of many spinning things. i can't stomach them any longer, and I am so very, very, VERY glad they are big enough to ride on their own!

of course, we had to waste a little money on the games. we actually sat by this one for quite a while waiting for all the troops to gather and didn't see one single person get a ring on the bottle. moneymaker!!!

From there we went to the cabin and had time to relax in between preparing for the usual over the top cabin feast. Mom knew that poutine was the great holiday favourite for Avery, so she put pulled pork poutine on the menu for the birthday dinner. And then invented a raspberry swirl cheesecake because that is what Avery requested:0) 

the pool kept the kids cool...

and the deck kept mama happy!

looks like everything is going her way in the water balloon fight!

ze magnificent raspberry swirl cheesecake.

grandma found mentos dispensers that fit on the the top of cola bottles and made sure the necessary ingredients were well stocked. there were many geysers made!

avery's friend Zea (and family- the new owners of Oreo the kitten) came out to celebrate with her).

aunty Jordan found a lantern that floats on the heat from a candle. it took a little persuasion, but we did have lift off for about 20 seconds. avery was freaked out and make sure she had buckets of water...

a few people framed, just for fun!

Back home, happy but weary we decided that we were not going anywhere for a while. Which was good because our garden has officially gone berserk! We have a freezer full of peas and beans, have given away as much as we have processed or used. Patapan squash we are just trying to use because I don't know what can be done to process them- if there was room in our little freezer anyway. Things have been pickled too!  And still corn (we have started eating some), carrots and onions to come.
cucumber salad ready for the fridge!

picking the insane cucumbers.

after getting a five gallon pail full of beans every 3 days, we started pulling out the bean plants. whose idea was it to plant 2.5 packs of beans, anyway?

cool as a cucumber...

one of my summer favourites- corn!

lift a leaf, find 50 beans!

patapan squash- a great discovery!!!

Everyone is officially on notice: If you come within 100 meters of us, we can give you vegetables!

The garden is taking up most of our extra time, but a few little projects have started. Mark and Avery took our beat up card table and gave it a face lift. We now have a fancy place to play 65!
guess who picked the colour?

We went to the Heritage Days festival- always interesting. It was smoking hot though!!!  Thank goodness for things like mangos on a stick!

And witnessed a wicked hail storm! There have been several this year, but this is the first one we were actually home for. LOVED it!  Avery- not so much! Her only thought the moment she sees lightening is to hide in the basement. Not raising a storm chaser here!

luckily our little garden on the side of the house was on the protected side. tomatoes survived the onslaught- hosta and flower pots, not so much.

Now you are up to date!  Summer in 60 seconds or less... hope yours is happy too!