Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Since Mother Winter decided to show off on Sunday with another huge dumping of snow and lots of wind our Winter Solstice gathering was postponed until Monday, which was yesterday.
Thanks to Valery and Charlene with the planning and writing that was needed for the ritual it went really well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We cast our circle with candles and poured the melted wax into a bowl of water to see the shapes that would appear to give us insight into the coming year.
There was a mediation, with a minor incident of my cat Smudge lighting his tail on fire with a candle! Luckily the cat didn't even feel it and the candle was blown out for safety. His tail has a section of fur that is a bit shorter now. The smell of burned fur is definitely less than pleasant!
We sang some traditional caroles with words that are more appropriate to the honouring of the Goddess and the returning of the light at this time. It was a good laugh trying to remember the new words without falling into the habit of singing the christian version.
We had an exchange of crystals as gifts and as always we all seemed to receive what we needed most. We even did a craft! We wrote a message to ourselves on a square of paper that will not be opened until Imbolc (Feb 1st) and then folded it into an orgami star for safe keeping.
Then of course there was the feasting after of all the yummy things everyone brought. A fun afternoon with a wonderful group and everyone left with a warm and connected feeling to each other and to our mother earth.
Bright Blessings to all at this Yule time. May the darkness nurture you in it's comforting embrace and may you find it energizes you with it's quiet stillness in readiness for the coming of spring.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tis the season for baking in my house. I can't seem to resist that temptation of baking cookies for yule and christmas just like my mom always did when I was a kid. Problem is 1. I don't want to eat the damn things 2. I shouldn't eat them because they are made with flour and wheat and I do not get along very well and 3. I have no will power and I don't need the things in my house!!
But as usual I start asking the kids what kind of cookies do they want to make and then it all gets out of control. Leah wants shortbread, a favourite of everyone but Quinn, and Quinn wants these sugar cookie stocking cookies with chocolate chips and nuts in them.
So we started this evening on the stocking cookie dough and Quinn wants marshmallows instead of nuts to be rolled into them. Which made a bit of a mess when the marshmallows kind of EXPLODED! They sure don't look like stockings any more! The kids were disappointed but enthusiastically offered to eat them anyways, what great kids I have!
So on we go to shortbread, which I truly love but of course I need to make gluten free shortbread. Well the internet has all these lovely recipes for gluten free "melt in your mouth" shortbread. Seriously I don't think anyone who wrote this has eaten "real" shortbread in a very long time! Melt in your mouth? well kind of if you like that gritty fine grain sandy feel that rice flour seems to always leave in your mouth.
Well as usual I can't leave a recipe alone and have had some success with gluten free pancakes by mixing in a variety of flours. I used less of the rice flour and made use of amaranth flour to make up the difference plus the cornstarch they called for. Well I mixed it with the butter and icing sugar as called for in the recipe and tasted the dough and bleck! Nasty flavour and gritty! So I thought it's time to leave the purity of shortbread behind and just save the dough. I splashed in vanilla and then went for the frangelico, my fav liquor. It helped the taste but I wanted to actually taste the flavour of the frangelico and it was barely noticable. I moved on to amaretto and splashed that in. That kicked it up a few notches! I had to add in more rice flour and cornstarch and more icing sugar to make it less sticky. I of course don't measure but just kept messing with it until it seemed the right consistency.
I threw the almond onto the cookies on the 2nd sheet since these cookies will end up on a cookie plate at some point and I wanted to give a heads up that they aren't the usual kind of shortbread.
So in the end they do melt nicely in the mouth, the flavour is Ok with a nice amaretto overtone and the texture I can live with but still a wee bit gritty. I am going to continue to experiment until I find a way to make shortbread that is as good as my whipped shortbread recipe and is gluten free. Those shortbread cookies are worth the belly aches until I crack this problem. Well I'll try and keep it down to 2 cookies, those pains are not much fun.
Monday, December 08, 2008
There is magic in the frozen stillness of the river. The constant ebb and flow and lapping of water has vanished and leaves only silence...
There is magic in a single flake of snow captured on a brightly coloured mitten. The amazement of it's perfection and the utter wonderment that it is completely unique from all the others falling from the sky and piling on the ground.
Blessed Be at this magical time of year.
It must be because we are still new here that everything seems so much more beautiful. I constantly see these views that just seem to cry out to be photographed. The snow, the fog, the morning mists, the spring rains and even the heavy heat of the summer all seem to have become so much more ethereal here.
We've now lived here 2 years and yet it still feels like we have only just got here. We have made lots of friends here and feel very much at home. We started to drive a bit more "county" on the roads now that we've figured out where the roads take us. We still haven't managed to get to visit all the places we have been wanting to yet in the County. I think I need to make a list and a plan so we can see all these places that I've only seen in photos.
It's funny how this place seems to fit so well for me. It's like everything I did before, whether it was work or art or just things I learned from other people, have all come together and make sense and I can apply better here. It's like I needed all those previous experiences and they were laid out in front of me with the ultimate plan of where I was going to be in the future when I was going to actually to need all that information.
It's funny I even like the snow better here, though I have a hell of a lot more shoveling to do here! It's feeling very festive outside today with all the snow, though the weatherman says it's going to be raining by late tomorrow, bleck! Quinn is quite put out that it's supposed to rain and he'll lose all the snow to sled it. World's best present last year turned out to be the $3.99 Canadian Tire blue plastic flying saucer for sledding. The kids love them since they don't sink in the snow like the crazy carpets and are much easier to just throw the thing down and jump on it to go down the little hills. Not to mention you do get a pretty good spin happening on the bigger hills. I had one when I was a kid and it really was an awesome sled machine!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Our family tradition is to make homemade gifts for Yule, which is Dec 21st. It usually ends up being me on my own creating gifts for everyone but Tim is starting to get into it and the kids are a bit too now.
Last year I asked my son, aged 7 1/2 yrs at the time, what he would like me to make. Since the last thing I wanted to do was go through all this time and work to have it be completely unappreciated. He asked for finger puppets and being the knit lover that I am I scoured the internet in search of patterns. I finally found a spiderman that someone had created and that was the jumping off point for all the superheros and supervillans that Quinn loves to play with.
Batman was the most complicated since I made a cape that I attached on afterwards. These little guys were surprisingly quick to create and alot of fun to design.
They aren't technically finger puppets since they fit 2 of my fingers about 3 of Quinn's but he seriously loves them. This really surprised me but I guess he thinks they are really cools because they are superheros, Actually now that I look at these pics again I remember I did Spidey first and he was really tricky because of all the switching of colours to make his suit. Spidey and Venom I embroidered on their spiders and the eyes were embroidered on everyone. Venom has this weird long red tongue so I tooks some red yarn and looped it through his embroidered fangs and braided the yarn so it sticks out, perfectly! So there you have it Spiderman, Batman, Hulk in his purple shorts and Sandman and Venom.
For this year Quinn has requested Iron Man, Ghostrider and of course all the Star Wars characters from the new Clone Wars movie. It's going to be a lot of late night knitting...sigh.
I am sitting in front of a wonderful smelling fire that is keeping my feet toasty but my bedroom will be of course ice cold. I love the woodstove but wish I had an electric blanket to at least take the frost off the sheets before I climb into bed.
Don't get me wrong I love a cool bedroom to sleep but on the really cold nights I tend to go to bed shivering and wake an hour later shaking with chills, no amount of blankets seem to be enough. I've started the habit of wearing a zipped hoodie over my flannel pjs to and wear the hood up so I keep my head warm.
Maybe I should wear one of my hats to bed!
The weather is throwing some nasty snow and rain at us right now and there is a prediction of no buses tomorrow, the kids, of course, are ecstatically hopeful that this will happen.
My week is going to consist of coming up with creative games and decorations for Leah's 11th birthday party this Saturday. I also need to take a run to Belleville to gather loot for the party goers, grab a couple of xmas gifts that are currently on sale (hopefully there will be some left after the weekend shoppers!) bake a cake, clean, and decorate. I'm a sucker for a theme party and Leah has requested a wizard, witch magical party. So we've decorated our spare room with fabric and black lights for the oracle that is coming to tell the students their future. It's actually Leah's Gramma that is doing the honours and doning a hat, cape and veil to add to the mystery.
I've been drapping blue xmas lights and halloween purple/orange lights all over the rec room to give it a more dramatic look. Next the streamers, and a few balloons. I also need some games that aren't too boring for the discriminating 11 yr olds that are coming and keep them out of trouble. Leah really wants me to create clues or riddles that they'll have to figure out to find different locations to get the next clue that will eventually lead to the "treasure". This is going to take some serious brain power and concentration for me to come up with good riddles. Tim is so much better at this but he is buried in his storyboard work right now so I'm not going to bother him.
Well it's getting late so I should wander off to my chilly bed. I have alot to get done and if the are kids running a mok tomorrow that will definitely complicate things. Eek! Did I mention that it's recycling day tomorrow, so much stuff to bundle and get to the curb, the fun never ends!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The school bus comes by our house any where from 8:50 to 8:55 to 9:05 am when it's really late. Well on Monday the bus zoomed by without us! Luckily we get a 2nd chance to grab it since it goes way up Morrison Point Road (which is a very long 6 km dead end) to pick up kids so we wait at the corner for it to come back down. We've had occasion to do this, um maybe about 5 times, very handy.
Since it's snowy, or at least it was this morning, my kids are anxious to get outside to play in all that white stuff. Even our dog Belle loves the snow, snowball throwing is her favourite game. She loves eating snow too. When she is outside and you are trying to coax her back into the house she just stares at you while gobbling up mouthfuls of snow pretending she doesn't understand what you want her to do. She also loves rolling in it as in this picture, so she tends to come in soaked, much like the kids. Snow melting everywhere, puddles, dripping mitts and snowpants. I was smart this year and have acquired a total of 5 pairs of snowpants so there should be a dry pair to be found everytime they are needed. Luckily Quinn and Leah are close to the same size so, they both fit into them all. Now I just need to stock up on mittens, and probably a couple more hats. Quinn seems to have lost his black hat with the skull on it that I knit him, hopefully it's just in the lost and found box at school. Funny, why is it a lost & found box? Isn't it just a lost box? I mean if it's found than it won't be in the box right?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
There goes another of my hats to a happy lady, I called this one "Neon Noggin", with some help on the name from Colleen who was visiting the store. The name usually comes to me as I'm doing the finishing up bits of tucking in ends and weaving them in, something I really dislike doing because I'm usually already wanting to start the next hat design that has been percolating in my head. Neon Noggin was a tough one because I was determined to create a swirl pattern knitted into the design. I used a rainbow wool for the swirl so in this picture it doesn't show up very well at the top of the hat. I think I ended up with 6 swirls around the hat after much drawing on graph paper and figuring with a calculator to make them show up at even points around the hat. I also tryed the bobbin technique of having the yarn for the swirl cut and wound up at each swirl point rather than the mess it would make carrying the yarn over so far between the swirls.
Anyways it was fun and I have the math worked out now so I can do it again but I'll try it using plain yarn so it shows up better.
It's SCARECROW FESTIVAL this Saturday (Oct 11th, 10 to 5) so I've got a million last minute things to pull together so we have enough materials for everyone that shows up to build a scarecrow. It might be a bit of a wild weekend seeing that it is normally busy with it being Thanksgiving and the weather is going to be fabulous, 18 degrees! and sunny! I hope we have enough stuff! We have 100 hotdogs and almost 80 scarecrow sticks and hopefully some people will want to build a soft sculpture scarecrow that can sit on a bench/chair or porch and won't want sticks.
Well off I run to get through the errands before I open the store.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The fair was a great event and I put in one of my knitted hats in the judging events and it won first prize!!! Hee hee! I was telling Tim I don't think I've ever won first prize in anything before! I kind of like it! Also Tim won first prize for his concrete sculpture and Quinn won first prize for his lego sculpture and Leah won 3rd prize for her collection of 115 stuffed toys!!!! Insane number of stuffies I know, now that we know that number we won't be acquiring anymore!!
Whoops, gotta run and get the kids out the door to the bus!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I've been knitting as fast as possible and still it's not quick enough for the way my funky hat creations are flying out the barn doors of the Galloping Goat Gallery! So here are some of the latest creations. Some are still here, others have found their people that have been searching for that perfect chapeau.
This is Raspberry Souffle. I've started naming the hats which is sometimes a bit of a trick but also alot of fun! This one is a delicious pink with a bit of soft pink eyelash and some purple feathery yarn mixed in.
This one is still in the store as of yet. The last 2 pink/purple hats I finished in the last month both sold so fast I couldn't even get a picture of them!
This hat was nameless until Clare discovered it on Saturday so of course this hat now has a home and a name! Clare's hat! Clare loved it so much she actually wore it right out of the store even though it is August! Hope you enjoy it, it was definitely made for you and looked awesome on!
This next hat I call Tropical Fizz. It's a bit larger than the other ones and will be looking for a person with either a lot of hair or just a bigger head.
Just for the record I knit hats in adult sizes since I personally love colour and a bit of silliness in my world and get a bit frustrated with how only kids get the fun colours in clothes and accessories. This is my personal way of putting the fun and funky out there for grownups. Of course growing up is an option, and at 40 I still have a ways to go I think!! hee hee!
This next hat is called Rainbow Sherbet. The photo unfortunately doesn't do it justice, the colours are so gorgeous and baby soft. As I was finishing it in store a lady thought it was a purse and it would have looked amazing as a purse but a wee bit to hairy. It did get me to thinking that making purses might be fun.
I just finished 2 more hats I don't have pictures of yet. One is Midnight Frost which my brother named and it's all in black/white and charcoal colours with a tassle off the top. I couldn't resist and added a few silver charms in the tassle strings. The other hat seemed convinced that I had to call it Harvest Moon. It's a bit more manly in colour, or at least I did try to go more that direction. My son Quinn helped me sort out what was Ok for guys and not Ok for guys to wear. He is 8 years old and very particular in that regard but still likes the bright colours so he is a handly boy to ask these important questions. Harvest moon is in rich orange with navy checkerboard and some bits of red and stripes of creme colour. I'll try and get photos quick before they find their favourite people's heads!!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The Galloping Goat Gallery was a busy little barn today and I sadly sold my last balancing crows garden stake...sigh. They are so cool those funny birds. They are made of metal and balance perfectly on a stake and swing and whirl around in the wind. I really really wanted to keep one for my garden but sadly I had to give them to other homes. I do have an order in for more but they are currently sold out also so I can only wait and hope they arrive. I also need to find a hammock that has a self-supporting stand for Tim for father's day. Of course we all know that it will become a fight with the kids who gets to lie in it and Tim and I will rarely get the change more than likely with out kids on top of us. I better find a good sturdy one.
Well the bats are out and swooping around eating mosquitos and my bug spray is wearing out so I'm going in the house now and giving up my pretty river view for a TV screen and finish my latest funky hat. Pictures soon of it I hope. It's a new pattern so you'll only see it if it looks cool!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Right now they are all drying nice and slowly in our barn.
It has certainly had lots of people talking and interested in playing with hypertufa. I have a pretty long list of people that want to take the next workshop. I found a picture online of a castle someone made from flower pots and alot of creativity and I'm so going to make one for the garden! It was so cool!
This is the birdbath that we are making in the workshops.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Funny how that first snow is magical and lovely and everything looks pretty and sparkling under the blanket of white. Now it's just a dirty, mucky disgusting mess, especially the mine field of doggy you-know-what! Now that is the worst job in the world in the spring, taking a wheelbarrow picking up all those nasty bits!
Well now that the snow is clearing out we finally got our new wall furnace in to warm the place up.
The barn tends to be a pretty damp spot until the afternoon sun starts pouring in the windows. We tested the furnace out with a bbq tank since the big tank doesn't come until tomorrow and wow it really worked great! No more freezing fingers for me on weekends!
The people visit us in the barn are largely tourists that don't know Prince Edward County very well so most come dressed in the usual spring attire that you can get away with in the city or at least any town further from the water than we are. Let it be known, the County is always windy, and always markedly cooler than even our largest city of Belleville. So if you are coming for a visit bring a warm coat and these days, decent boots. We had a lot of shivering guests visiting for the Maple Surup Festival in the barn huddled under the electric ceiling heater with thin leather jackets and light polar fleece sweaters.
There is a reason there is so much interest in the County for wind farms, it is insanely windy here, all the time! It's great in the summer, even on the hottest day there is usually a breeze. It's this time of year and the fall that it will whip right through your clothes and leave you numb! I am sure looking forward to all that warm sunshine, come on SPRING!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Tonight there will be a full moon eclipse that I don't think I'll manage to be awake for. I love watching the moon, so serene and peaceful. I like full moons' in the winter because their light is magnified this huge amount by all the snow on the ground. It lights up everything so it is practically daylight out with sharp crisp shadows on the ground.
We got another huge dumping of snow last night and this morning. I was actually amazed the buses ended up running. It was definitely the worst driving conditions I've had to deal with yet going to work.
So I am leaving my 2nd job at the Tool & Die company to have 100% of my time dedicated to the Galloping Goat Gallery and all the things I haven't had time to do until now.
I'm looking forward to it but also fairly apprehensive since it was a nice steady pay cheque. If feels like I'm jumping into another adventure again. So off I go to leap into the unknown yet again!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
It was actually quite mild and if the sun hadn't disappeared I would have take some shots of the river an hour later. This was when all the mist came swirling up from the frozen river as the air chilled for the evening. I was breathtaking to look at.
The most frustrating part of our new home is the fact that only our bedrooms face these views. The window in the kitchen also looks over the back of the house so when I'm washing dishes and making dinner I do have a nice view. What I really want is to turn this house around so the big picture window is looking over the countryside and river rather than the road and Black River Cheese Factory!! It's probably going to take a few years but we'll figure out a way so that we can sit in a comfy chair and watch the wildlife.