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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Butternut Thursday... on: October 04, 2019 12:33:17 PM
My sister is visiting for a few weeks, from Singapore.  She has been living there since about 1992.  She really misses some things about Canada; experiences you just can't get in Singapore - like Fall, and apple picking.  So last weekend, my two sisters and I, my niece, and Jim went apple picking, and squash picking at a nearby farm.  I ended up with 20 lbs of apples and a couple of HUGE butternut squash....

So Sunday was spent peeling and roasting squash, and finally on Thursday I made a couple of batches of soup.  She went home with a pumpkin - apparently 23 lbs of pumpkin, and she wants to make some pumpkin muffins with that.  My other sister and niece also went with butternut squash too - I sense ravioli in their futures and there was some interest in butternut risotto too...

Anyways - I made a soup with mine - including apples since we have so many of them now:


Butternut Squash Soup - serves 6

6 slices bacon cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic (or more to taste), peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 pound boiling potatoes
2-3 medium apples (about 3/4 pound total), peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and roasted (3 1/2 to 4 cups)
2 cups chicken stock or broth
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
smoked sweet paprika

Cook bacon in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, then transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons fat in pot.

Cook celery, carrot, onion, and garlic in fat in pot over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, and lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes.  Add cinnamon, and paprika, and cook, partway through.

While vegetables are cooking, peel potatoes and coarsely chop. Peel and core apples and coarsely chop. Stir squash, potato, chopped apple, bacon, stock, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into onion mixture, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Puree soup in 4 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then heat in cleaned pot over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. (Add additional 1/2 cup water to thin, if necessary.)

I had to try roasting the seeds too - they did make for a rather tasty snack


More ramblings about my day, and pics and some details on the blog if anyone is interested
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Nuthatch in black and white... on: September 30, 2019 07:22:09 AM

I have not been crafting a lot lately - have ideas, but have been too distracted by reading...  but this year I was determined to go ahead with a couple of projects I have been wanting to do for awhile.  One of which was to go ahead with making more embroidered birds for myself.  I made one set of nuthatches last year, and this year I wanted to make a couple of more and this was one of them.

Simply a black and white one  - black DMC floss on white cotton.  After finishing it, I mounted it onto a 6x6 chunky canvas.


More pics and info on the blog... which has also been rather neglected...
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Gluten Free Raspberry Streusel Bars on: February 24, 2019 03:09:13 PM
Made these to take over for dinner at a friend's place.  Jim has Celiac's so I try to make desserts that are gluten free, and these are friends who used to be our neighbours, and one thing they miss is that I used to bake for them all the time.  I know they love berry baked goods, so I made these, as well as a gluten free carrot cake.  These were nice, buttery, with a nice bright berry flavour.  Fantastic with tea and coffee.



Raspberry Streusel Bars
Makes 12 bars (1 x 8" square pan)

6 oz by weight of GF flour (Robin Hood brand used)
2 1/3 oz by weight of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
(1/4 tsp xantham gum if your flour blend doesn't have it already - Robin Hood has it mixed in)
4 oz (8 tbsp) butter, softened and cut into small pieces
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped, toasted
1/4 cup rolled oats (makes sure they are gluten free if you want to keep GF)
6 oz raspberry preserves or jam (these were made using Smucker's brand raspberry jam)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries (or so, I may have tipped a few extra berries in)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice



Full details on my blog if anyone is interested in trying these for themselves.
4  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Ex libris - personal library stamp and bookplates on: January 03, 2019 10:08:57 AM
This was what I made for Wulf for the winter book swap that was just run.

I hand carved it from thin stamping making material and it should fit nicely inside a standard paperback - about 3x4"? 

Then I felt that just the stamp was not enough, so I added some bookplates made from it, which I added adhesive backing to, and inked and added some hand colouring to.


I am pretty happy how they both turned out.  A bit more about the stamp here, on my blog, and a bit more here, about the bookplates, with some more pics.
5  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / ... my true love gave to me... on: January 03, 2019 08:51:59 AM
Well, I am pretty sure I am not Wulf's true love, but I did make him a 12 Day's of Christmas mini book as part of the Winter Book Swap...


It is made from die cut chipboard and water colour paper.  For the covers, I decorated them with layers of paint, a music note motif stenciled on with gel medium, washi tape, and decorated die cut baubles.  I riveted and glued them onto the spine.

The inside pages are water colour paper that I stamped with the 12 days of Christmas, and decorated with inking, paint, and microcrystalline wax.




I had wanted to do something like this for awhile and this was my excuse to finally do it - a holiday mini book.  I added an eyelet and ribbon to make it something that could hang too.

There is a heck of a lot more pictures on my blog if anyone wants to see since I went through all the 12 days.
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Shabby library bookmarks... on: December 29, 2018 09:02:34 AM

These were some bookmarks I made recently for the winter book swap, for Wulf - well for Wulf, and myself.  First, I made a stack of books stamp, and used that to stamp onto some cotton.


Then I covered them, and stamped over them with a background stamp composed of different fonts.  I used different colours of permanent inks over a black ink that I stamped the book stack in.  I trimmed those out and sewed those onto a base I made with a striped twill fabric.

On the back I added some book quotes that I hand stamped on and sewed on too.



I made 6  in total - the three with the nicest images I gave to Wulf, and kept three for myself.

More in details and pics on my blog if anyone wants a closer look.

7  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Ongoing Postal strike in Canada on: November 17, 2018 04:02:12 AM
Just in case anyone was not aware, but there has been an ongoing postal strike in Canada, with rotating strike action.  The union just rejected the latest offer (well, they have until midnight tonight) and there is no end in site.  The Federal government did hint they may step in to stop the job action, but have not made any definitive moves as yet.

On saying that, there are at present over 600 shipping containers that are parked at various depots that have not been unpacked, and Canada Post has asked their international partners to stop sending packages to Canada until they have it sorted out.  Wonderful.

Mail delivery is still happening, but it is erratic to say the least.

Therefore, if you are ordering supplies - as I have - don't expect it in a timely manner if you are Canadian, unless you are using a private shipper or something not dependent on Canada Post as the end delivery system.  You may have to go to in person to a store if you need something ASAP, otherwise.

If you are waiting for a Canadian partner to receive something - well, it may be delayed.... for awhile... a long long while...

Here is the link to Canada Post for updated messages if anyone needs it

If you are a Canadian shipping out, or are a partner of a Canadian, there are smaller shippers who do not depend on Canada Post - I use ChitChats Express for one example, and the services I use are not affected by the strike, at least not for the shipping out of packages.

I am sure there are other small independent companies - that may even be able to offer better rates than Canada Post, and if anyone else in Canada knows or uses those companies for shipping out, then please list them, as the company I use has locations limited to some large urban centers in only about 4 provinces.
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Shrink plastic question... on: November 12, 2018 03:45:51 AM
My go-to was Lucky Squirrel polyshrink, but they shut down awhile ago.  I know I can use Shrinky Dinks if I have to, but I was wondering if anyone else knows of another supplier of artist grade shrink plastic, especially good pricing on bulk amounts.

Shrinkles are too expensive (small 6" pieces also), and Grafix brand is TERRIBLE from my experience with them - Lucky Squirrel gave much more predictable and consistent results.
9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Ornament Dioramas on: November 11, 2018 03:21:13 PM
I made these recently for the Sweat Shoppe Ornament swap - they are reused non breakable ornaments that I decorated with snow texture mediums, glitter, miniatures, paint, etc.  A general tutorial on how I made them before is posted somewhere on Craftster, and here, on my blog too.



Here are the individual ornaments:

One with a little fawn:


One with a little doe:


The doe and fawn are a bit smaller than the other ones.

I built me a snowfriend:


Do you want to use a snowman:


Nobody like a snow buddy:


Anyways - these were fun to make and I hope others try them too and I am collecting more miniatures to make more, myself.  I included the links to the blog posts if anyone wants more pictures/details.
10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Falling Leaves - a sympathy card for a friend and colleague on: November 11, 2018 02:47:32 PM
One of the gentlemen at work lost his mother recently and I was asked to make a card for everyone to sign.  It felt like we lost one of our own, especially as she was also a patient for awhile too so we got to know her, and saw the love he had for her.

Anyways, I made this for him, it is quite large, with lots of space so everyone can add a message of love and support for him.

I went with a Fall theme - I wanted it to be more masculine, and incorporating something I love too.


I did a distressed, inked, textured base, and die cut leaves,  using a combination of metallic painted card stock and inked paper.


Inside it is a tri-fold card, and the total base of the folded card is 8.5 x 5.5" - so it has lots of room for messages.  I also made a coordinating envelope for it.

More pics and details on the blog if you are interested, including some details how I made it.
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