Monday, December 17, 2007

Tooth Fairy Pillow

So this is an absolutely adorable pillow for when the tooth fairy makes a visit. I know, I know, I don't have kids yet but if I someday have a child I think I would like to make one of these and what better way to not lose the idea then to post it here. It even has a heart pocket in the back for the tooth to go in.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Tree is Trimmed

Not much to say. I am working on some Christmas presents for family members so I can't say much in case someone drops by here between now and Christmas morning. I guess that means I will have photos galore to share after Christmas but for now mums the word.

We did however finishing decorating our tree and the bannister. The pictures don't do the real thing justice but give a bit of an idea what the house looks like. And yes, those are pumpkins on the stairs, leftovers from autumn decor.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Isn't it True

Trust that little voice in your head that says, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if...'; and then do it.
-Duane Michals

This is such a profound statement because my entire life is full of wouldn't it be interesting....but not full of doing it. And it is the fear of failure that holds me back. More because I have a spouse that I don't want to let down. To put financial burden on. I am not fearful of it for myself. I have been there and gotten through it. Pulled myself out of a big financial hole with the support of friends and family but I didn't have a mortgage then, I didn't have a spouse that counts on me to do a percentage of the household bills. I don't know...maybe that is an excuse to cover up the fear of failing.

Maybe it is because I feel like I am the queen of procrastination and don't feel that I would accomplish anything on my own or maybe that I don't think I could actually create something that would generate more financially then I current make. sure can complicate it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Everyday brings something

It is amusing how we feel like we haven't done today is no different then the day before and yet if you actually look at the day and what you did, experienced, who you talked to or saw, everyday is unique. I was going to say that there is nothing going on in my day today. That it is just another normal day but that would be a lie.

Today is different then yesterday because.....
-I ate rice crispies for breakfast.
-I remembered to take my vitamins.
-I am listening to Christmas music at this very moment.
-I am going shopping after work for Andy's Christmas present.
-Andy and I are going to decorate the Christmas tree tonight.
-I just finished eating meat and veggie pies we brought back from Pender Island Bakery.

All this and I am only at noon!

As a side note I wanted to show some pictures of some wood children's items that I think are really neat. Perhaps when I get my scroll saw....someday...soon I hope...I will make some of these.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Poet's Cove

This past weekend we went to Poet's Cove. I have this incrediably giving boss that does things like take his staff to an out of town resort for a weekend get away as the staff party. The place was beautiful, the food was great, the islands of North and South Pender were lush and green. We had weather from sunny through snow while there. A fun and enjoyable weekend

Friday, November 30, 2007

Foster Kid Project

The other day I was reading about a young guy who developed a program for foster kids. Because of the often quick removal of children from the household many foster children come to their foster homes with little more then a garbage bag with a few items in the bag. This young man didn't like the idea of a garbage bag so he created a program so that every foster child receives a bag for their belongings. It is such a small thing but so special for each child during what can be such an emotionally unsettling time. I wonder if it is being done around here and if not what it would take to make happen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gingerbread Biscotti

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 cup molasses
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the ginger. In another bowl, beat the sugar, butter and molasses until smooth. Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time. Stir the dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Turn the sticky dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Knead and shape each half into a log, about 12" long and 2 1/2"" inches wide. Place the logs, spacing them several inches apart, on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, and then cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Carefully move the logs to a cutting board. Cut at a slight angle with a serrated knife, cleaning the blade from time to time, into 3/4" thick slices. Lay the slices flat on the baking sheet. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake 10 minutes more. Cool to room temperature and store in a tight-sealing container.

I whipped these up last night. Recipe courtesy of Thrifty Foods weekly flyer. Took a plateful to work and they were quickly devoured. I guess it's a keeper!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let it Snow

The first sprinkling of snow came to us last night. She dropped big fluffy bits of delight on us for a couple of hours. I sat inside with a cup of tea, indoor lights off, outdoor lights on and marvelled at the beauty of it all. This morning the sky was clear and from the warmth of the hot tub I enjoyed watching the sky turn from the darkness of night to a beautiful blue. The silhouette of the snow covered trees against the dark sky was truly breathtaking. What a perfect way to start the day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And the Stockings Were Hung...

So the stockings are finally made. I have been working on this project since I graduated high school but let's not dwell on that. The important part is that they are completed and that I love them. Andy's is the partridge in a pear tree and mine is the angel. They each are backed with the same fabric that makes the cuff (forest green for his, burgundy for mine) and are lined with an off-white satin fabric.

I also spent this weekend making bread (6 loaves), buns (1 dozen), and pumpkin shortbread (3 1/2 dozen). I got the shopping done for the Clarke Christmas hampers (we are supporting two families this year), got the presents together for the little girl that I am personally buying for and wrapped them up in ballet slipper pillowcases to do my part to save the environment and she gets something useful too. Sunday we had brunch with Verna. We went to Samuel's and had an enjoyable meal. We then went to Verna's were we continued our conversation and enjoyed a chocolate fondue. Finished the evening with a movie. All in all an enjoyable weekend

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Aunty Time

Monday night was Aunty night. That means that I get my two darling nieces for an evening. They are full of energy as all 5 and 6 year olds are. And running around the house kept them fairly well occupied while I threw together a pasta casserole for dinner. Yes, the house is still standing and other then a leaf or two off the poinsettia's I think all the plants made it through - they weren't so luck last time. After dinner we did our traditional baking time. Not quite sure how it got started but I always bake with the girls when they are over for an extended amount of time. Usually it is cookies but this time we went for pound cake. I got them to each stir their own bowl so we were able to make enough for them to take home several pieces and I got a couple to put in the freezer. Especially helpful as I had eggs galore and needed to use them up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bold or ???

So this little cheeky girl was sitting right in
front of our living room window on Sunday morning. Andy and I both walked right up to the window and took about two dozen pictures of her before she finally got up and walked away. Her male friend atleast had the decency to sit on the front lawn on the other side of the parking area. It truly is a love-hate relationship I have with these creatures. If only they could leave my plants alone. I do have an entire acre of grass that they can eat to their hearts content. I must admit I will miss them when I fence the yard but I will have vegetables and flowers so not too much.......

Friday, November 9, 2007

Precious Moments

This is the little something I picked up for the shower I am attending this weekend. If I had thought about it in advance I might have motivated myself to make something but I have been a bit on the disorganized side as of late and therefore had to buy something ready made. I do like this little piece though. Hopefully the receipt does as well.

This morning I just happened to look out the office window into the fields surrounding the barn and just at that moment the most incredible rainbow appeared. It looked as if the rainbow started at the farmers house and ended at the open air market.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

To Do and Have done

Sometimes I get frustrated with all the little things I want to do and feel like I never get to them. But I think it isn't that I never get to them it is that there are just always things on the "to do" list and every time you complete one something else takes it's place. So I have decided to have a "to do" and a "have done" list. I haven't decided if the "to do" should have a limit or not - I'll see how it works for me first. As items are completed they will be moved to the "have done" list. That way I can reflect on what I have accomplished and therefore motivate me further for the other projects on the "to do" list.


Decoupage puzzle blocks
Curtains for eating nook and kitchen windows
Curtains for bedroom
Wedding album
Strawberry towers
Square foot raised beds
Learn how to make really good bread (not just average)
Finish my diploma


Christmas stockings for Andy and I
Finish my Business certificate

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Farmer's Market

Sometimes you see an item that you absolutely love. This would be one of them. Soft, colourful, fabric vegetables for the kids to play with and a handy bag for carrying them in. I really like the idea of having play toys that reflect a healthy lifestyle. Now to have a child to play with the toys.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mini Getaway

From midday Saturday through midday Sunday Andy and I enjoyed a mini vacation. We escaped the house and drove down the road to Cowichan Bay for a romantic weekend all of 15 minutes from our home.

We stayed at the Oceanfront Grand thanks to the generosity of my boss Geoff. The rooms have been recently renovated - creamy coloured flooring and walls with black granite countertops in the kitchenette and bathroom.

We enjoyed wandered the storefronts in the village and had a midafternoon snack and drink. The cookies came from the bakery in the village that makes the most wonderful breads and sweets from organic grains that are milled on site. The chocolate chip cookies are made with spelt grain and the cranberry cookies are so filling you feel like you have had an entire meal.

The views from the room are breathtaking.
As the sunlight slowly faded to darkness we watched the boats coming in and out of the marina. We enjoyed a delicious and filling meal at the restaurant and relaxed for the remainder of the evening. Just enjoying each others company and being in the moment - no chores to distract, things needing or wanting to be done. Absolute heaven.

A relaxing morning of hot tubbing and newspaper reading was capped of with an amazing brunch. I enjoyed seafood, sushi and waffles while Andy found eggs benny, bacon and salads. Truly a buffet that pleased us both.

Saturday morning sweetness

Saturday morning was a Clarke family brunch. I really wanted to practice the breadmaking skills from my course so I decided to make the cinnamon bun recipe. I mixed it all by hand - unlike at the course. I never did get the dough to pass the window test and gave up.

The dough had no problems rising and the end result was almost as good as class day. I used our wood stove for the proofing stage - worked like a charm. They could have used the icing sugar glaze that they are normally served with but I ran out of time so an apricot glaze was as good as it got.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Zander's Blankie

I have had this picture on my computer for awhile and didn't want to show it until after I gave Patricia and Albie their baby present.

I actually gave them the blanket before Zander was even born but then I forgot I had it. Today I came across it is my picture file and thought I would post it to remember that I have indeed made something in my life. Patricia told me that the blanket is being used so hopefully all those hours were worth it!

Last night was our annual Halloween Howl at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre. Hours of setup for 2 hours of chaos. I believe the several hundred people that showed up had fun so the tiredness of today is soothed by the knowledge that a lot of little kids had a great time. The haunted house was spooky fun, the craft table was a huge success (helium bats and popcorn hands) and free food and candy always goes over well.

I just got two new books and can't decide which to read first. By Peter Reinhart, they are both cookbooks but they are cookbooks that include stories and learning of techniques not just simply recipes. I imagine I will probably end up reading them both at the same time in my impatience to learn what they both have to say.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Sometimes life is just about trying things even if they aren't good for you. Spaghetti alla carbonara is one of those examples. The sauce consists of bacon, bacon fat, butter, egg yolks, cream and parmesan cheese. The only good thing in the sauce is some garlic. The thing of it is I have always wanted to try it. I had heard about it but never tried it - plus the added challenge of not scrambling the eggs but instead creating a creamy rich sauce using egg yolks.
It turns out there wasn't really any challenge to it at all. The entire dish is actually extremely easy. The sauce was rich indeed - almost too much so given how rarely one eats such a food these days. And the funniest thing was Andy said it was good but he would much prefer "regular" spaghetti. I guess the good old meat and tomato sauce wins again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Old Friends New Times

Last night I had a friend, Alex, over that I hadn't seen or talked to since grade eleven. We went to Maxwell together from grade 9-11 and had lost touch after he left the school during grade eleven. We re-met through facebook. It is the oddest thing getting an email from someone you haven't talked to in over ten years and yet it is strangely exciting.

There is something about the knowing that they are doing well. That life is unfolding for them in whatever manner it is. Perhaps part of that is in knowing that not all the people I went to school with are still around and that when you reconnect with someone you know that they are okay. It is nice knowing what people are doing, where they are focussing their energy, what has become important to them. Are they pursuing something, a passion, a belief, a calling of sorts. What values do they hold close, what experiences have occurred for them.

I made pizzas for dinner, apparently homemade pizza was a novelty for Alex which made the preparation even more fun. BBQ shrimp and pineapple pizza, balsamic mushroom pizza and pesto chicken pizza were the options of the night. No recipes to start with as I made them up with what I had on hand - monteray jack cheese, red peppers, red onion, black olives, etc. The pesto chicken was a completely new trial and it was delish! I think some toasted pinenuts and green olives would have made it even better. Definately will play with this one some more.

It was a lovely evening and makes me realize how important it is to keep touch with people you care about and how easy it is to renew a friendship that may have been lost.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Loafing around

This past weekend was one of those weekends were life is truly at it's best. I took a course on saturday - Artisan Baking. Bagels, challah, ciabatta, sweet and sour rye, focaccia, cinnamon buns and a multi seed bread were the spoils of the days. It was a day of being immersed in something I truly enjoy. Measuring, mixing, shaping, baking. The textures, smells and sight of everything going on in the kitchen was amazing.

Andy and Todd did a taste test of all the different breads when I got home that night.

On Sunday morning I came downstairs to this sight.

Andy was already outside cleaning out the gutters. Hadn't even stopped to have breakfast yet. After breakfast- yes he did come in - I helped out with the gutters and did some garden cleanup. Andy power washed the sidewalks after cleaning his "fleet". He wrote me messages in the sidewalk before cleaning them completely. Every once and awhile he does the sweetest things - never the typical flowers and chocolates which makes it all the better.

We went for a belated Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's. Nothing says yummy like turkey dinner.

Curled up in bed last night (Sunday) I couldn't help but think about what a relaxing and enjoyable weekend it had been. If only everyday was that relaxing and enjoyable. If only.......something to think about.

This morning as I was enjoying my last cinnamon bun I watched a little bird fly to our back door and perch on the wood frame that holds the glass panes. It sat there for a minute or two until Andy walked out the garage door and it flew away. It was one of those moments were you truly realize how two people can be in almost the exact same location but have completely different experiences. I sat and watched this bird completely immersed in the shape and colour of it's feathers meanwhile Andy probably didn't even see the bird as he walked out the garage door. Every moment of life is truly unique to each person on Earth.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Born: September 18
Pictures: September 23
Need I say more

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Quiet Place

It has been a busy couple of weeks; hence, no entry until now for the entire month of September. We visited my parents up at Lundbum Lake (just outside of Merritt) earlier this month for an extended long weekend. We were greeted by these cheeky and somewhat greedy little characters - not at all shy!

We spent the weekend exploring all the back trails around the campsite in the tracker.
First there is the lake where the campsite is at. A small and peaceful looking lake.

Then there was the lookout that my parents had found only days before we got there. It overlooks Douglas Lake Ranch - the largest working ranch in Canada. It was an amazing view of thousands of acres of land with not a moving soul in sight.

We saw grouse, coyotes, chipmunks, squirrels, numerous types of birds, fresh water shrimp and clams and even a bear!

On one of our adventures we came across this beautiful specimen of a tree. Andy posed beside it to show just how large it truly was. Dad, Andy and I wrapped our arms around it but still could not touch fingertips.

We also went to a bison farm were we had a wonderful lady teach us about the way they raise their bison as well as numerous tips about how to cook the different cuts. She was an extremely generous hostess both with her time and information. We even learnt of the methods they had used to build their home - combinations of infloor heating, solar panels and generator but also strategic placement of windows for maximum natural sun heating. It was quite interesting as they were living completely off the grid.

With trails called Coco Bonk to explore and things to discover around each corner it was an extremely fun and relaxing weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Busiest of Weekends

Wow, what a great weekend. On friday Andy and I quickly put together our bags and headed off to join Todd at Honeymoon Bay. We had a great evening full of yummy food (Malay chicken kabobs with bbq baby potatoes and mixed vegetables) and even better conversation. We had a campfire complete with roasted marshmellows.

We had a relaxing morning and went for a nice walk out to Gordon Bay campsite and got back just before the rain settled in. We then packed up and headed towards home with a quick stop in at the Saturday market to pick up some fresh corn and baby potatoes. Quickly completed some chores around the house and then headed off to pick up Bill.

We then went down to the government whalf in Mill Bay, loaded up Bill's sailboat and motored and sailed our way to Todd inlet. We found a great little place between another sailboat and a huge 50' powerboat and anchored for the evening and awaited dusk to come.

As dusk grew nearer more and more boats made their way into the inlet. And then we enjoyed the show - Butchart's fireworks from a sailboat. When the fireworks were complete we bunked down for the night - my first time sleeping overnight on a boat! In the morning we enjoyed a family of raccoons running along the beach, a sea otter on his morning swim and an assortment of water creatures and birds that inhabit our local coastlines.

We made our way back to Mill Bay and after dropping Bill off we then joined Andy's family for a late brunch. We dropped in at Blue Rose on our way home and picked up some New Zealand flax - a cute green/black variety that looks great in our new black pots and a water hybiscus that I am hoping will not be eaten by the deer. If it gets a chance to bloom I'll post a picture. We completed our weekend by starting on our rockwall in front of our bay windows - halfway completed already!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


The self portrait project for the month of august was patterns. And I could see patterns everywhere but where could I see pattern of myself.

I could see many of my habitual things I do or think of that create patterns but how to out them onto a picture I don't know. What did come to mind was my chewed on fingernails. I never can seem to leave them alone - a pattern of nervousness(?) perhaps .

I want this playing with self portraits to be a discovery of myself. To push myself into looking at things that I have been ignoring or unaware of but also to discover the beauty within. I know it is there even if the little voice tries to tell me differently. It is about ignoring the self doubt and discovering the positive, the unique and that which is within.

At first glance of this photo I see the pudge - that darn extra weight I have put back on. I could view the extra weight as a positive - that obviously I am not lacking in food and that the food I do have tastes good but that feels like acceptance and if I accept it then perhaps I will not work to lose it. I see the hairs on my belly - hairs you don't see on the models in magazines - yes, I know they airbrush them away before publishing but.....there is the hairs on my belly.
I took this photo because of my freckles. I have freckles here and there all over. As an adult I have come to love my freckles. They are unique, they are fun, they are cute and ...... they form patterns. Sometimes squares, triangles, straight lines, kites, smiley faces and the list goes on. Imagination can tell you what a grouping of my freckles might be. They are something that has been a part of me throughout my life.....a pattern...and a part of me that I love.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My little Tibo

I am so excited. This little plant was given to us last year when we moved to our new house. It survived neglect, lack of water and nibblings by deer. I brought it in the house over the winter and dutifully watered it and amazingly it actually grew over the winter.

I put it outside a couple of months ago and have tried to remember to water it. It has grown a little since being moved outside and strangely enough it decided to bloom the other day. Though this photo doesn't do it justice the flower is quite pretty - a beautiful purple.

It is a tibouchina ( sometimes referred to as princess flower or glory bush )

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Roasted Vegetable

So I am currently reading through a cookbook called The Roasted Vegetable (see list of good reads).

As Lisa had given us some carrots and a patty pan squash I decided to try roasting on the bbq. The carrots were done in olive oil and butter with salt, pepper and a couple of thyme sprigs. The squash was olive oil with garlic cloves, basil and parsley. I have to say I prefer the oil/butter combo over straight oil and will keep that in mind in future.

Not sure if Andy was to impressed with the garlic breath but I just love roasted garlic cloves so you know where they all went - tee hee.