Catherine Bussiere: veggie burger

I have been experimenting with veggie burgers lately
and, I have been juicing

I have loads of carrots, beets, and our apple trees are bountiful
good time to use a juicer
sometime the juicer feels a little over the top
really, couldn’t I just chew a little
but to drink fresh juice from the garden feels quite regal
so why not

I decided to make the most of it
and aside from drinking the most delicious juice
I would use the pulp left behind
here is this week’s recipe
healthy, nutritious, and tasty

Veggie burgers with quinoa

for a dozen large burger you may use

6 cups of shredded veggies (kale, carrots, beets, celery, onion, use what you have)
1 cup of quinoa (to be cooked)
400 gr of grated cheese (I like cheddar)
3 large eggs (I always get them from a local farm now)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup oats
2 Tsp hemp seeds, or sesame seeds or, again, whatever you have kicking around
4 Tsp za’atar (a delightful Middle Eastern mix of oregano, thyme, savory and sesame seeds)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Rinse the quinoa. Bring 1 1/2 cup of water to boil. You may add a little salt or miso to your water for flavor. Add the quinoa. Simmer for 12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for another 5 minutes.

Chop, grate, shred your chosen veggies. If you have been using a juicer and don’t know what to do with all that beautiful pulp, here is a good place to use it.

In a large bowl place all ingredients. Mix, mix, mix with your hands. Best tool ever.
Form patties and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper just oil the pan. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or until slightly brown and crispy.

Eat in a bun with garnish or with a side salad.
My favorite this week is a kale salad with one of those burger diced on it.
Tastes good, feels good!

ps. replace za’atar with your favorite herb, I used basil last week and it was delicious
pps. can’t eat them all, freeze them for later

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Catherine Bussiere: Hope

I met Hope this week
I didn’t know Hope
I went to her apartment complex where she resides in River Hebert
she used to live on a farm
but at 80 some she now lives in a much smaller space
with two cats
although residents are not suppose to have cats
actually one of her cat is missing
which is troubling her some

I met Hope because I was to interview her about seed saving
going to a seed saving workshop recently I was presented with some beautiful beans that had been saved and planted for decades
in awe of that I had asked if I could interview the lady that did so
and so I ended up in Hope’s apartment

Hope is a lovely lady
she answered my questions graciously
I found simple, plain wisdom in her comments
I kept telling her that I wanted to hug her so content I was with the turn of our interview

to the question why save seeds her answer is this
keep seeds from plants that grow well in your region
keep the best ones
save them, trade them
they are the best seeds you can get

to the question why garden and why buy local
her answer is this
grow your own food or buy from a local farmer because the fruit you get is the tastiest
period

now of course there are political reasons
we can save seeds to fight Monsanto
we can grow gardens to lower our carbon footprint
we can do so for financial reasons
for physical and mental health
(yes, it helps my mental bits to hang out in the garden)

for Hope it boiled down to taste

it made me wonder
have we forgotten what home grown food taste like
think about a fresh, perfectly ripen, strawberry
a tomato still warm from the sun
fresh shelled peas
carrots with their tops and a tiny bit of dirt just pulled from the garden

there are many reasons to grow a garden
save seeds
even forage for wild edibles

Hope said she likes to know where her food comes from
it taste better
I agree

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Catherine Bussiere: gardening

I dealt
or rather
I started dealing
with my greenhouse
this week

my greenhouse was like a jungle of mostly
dill, peppergrass, cilantro, and kale

I like to leave some plants go to seed
the reason I had so much kale this spring was because I let one plant go to seed last fall

I crushed and shook the dried pods around in October
In May I had a small sea of baby kale

at this point in the summer
the garden is giving plenty
and it got to the point where I could barely walk through the greenhouse
I did have room around the pepper plants and the few tomatoes and eggplants
but still
how many dill, peppergrass and coriander plants do I need for seeds

But it is so pretty
And fragrant as I walk through

sigh –

I got on my knees
I started pulling

inspired by a woman I met recently
I have decided to plant now
a fall / winter garden

I planted carrots and peas
I put the peas around the few tall dill plants left
I’m thinking that it is a brilliant idea
the peas will climb up the dill stalk
and it gives me a good excuse to leave a few around

I will transplant Swiss chard and reseed lettuce
I think I will put some bush beans in between the grown lettuce
by the time the old lettuce is ready to be pulled
room will be made for the growing beans
( unless I let the lettuce go to seeds )

I have kale and parsley
that should last a while

I’m experimenting

I want to be able to make the most of our old unheated greenhouse
I have a feeling we should be able to get fresh greens late into the fall

I’ll keep you updated

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Catherine Bussiere: Rose

it’s rose time
yellow roses
pink roses
they look like wild roses
are they?

I collect the petals
I bring 1 cup of sugar with one cup of water to a boil
I pour the syrup over two cups of petals
I let it steep half a day
or more
I pour it in a jar
it’s pretty
I pour it over ice and add bubbly water
lovely

I bet I could pour it over vanilla ice cream
now I’m talking

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Catherine Bussiere: fiddle heads & omelets

we went for a walk in the woods
we listen to nature waking up
the beauty of it all just makes me smile
I feel happy

we are out to collect fiddle heads
one of nature’s first edible
there may be others
only recently have we been going out to gather wild edibles
so far mushrooms and fiddles heads are what we collect
there is something quite enthralling about gathering food from the wild
I love it

by the river we find some tightly curled ferns
they’ve just started showing up through the leaves
you can’t wait too long
when nature wakes up she’s got no time to waste for stretches, coffee, and all
she’s on the move

this morning I made us a fiddle head omelet
for two people I used three large farm eggs
beat them up with a little cream, a pinch of salt, cumin and fresh ground pepper

I steamed a couple handful of fiddle heads
I grated some cheddar cheese and chopped some chives
I pour the egg mix onto a cast iron pan
when the egg mix starts to set I place chives, fiddle heads and cheese on one half of it
I wait a little
the cheese melts
I flip the bare half onto the dressed half

a nature walk feeds the soul, lungs, eyes
today, a nature walk also fed two hungry bellies

happy Sunday
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Catherine Bussiere: Gail

foggy morning, fishcakes and biscuits, company over
my blog is a little late today
it’s Sunday

I visited Gail this week
Gail, in legal term, is my mother in law
in my term she is a friend

I thought Gail would be a good person to interview for my age series
she will be 77 this year
you may think: she’s 76, don’t need to age her faster
no, but the thing is, Gail cares more about the sound of the number then the meaning we might associate it with
and so 77 sounds much better then 76
actually, really, Gail loves double digits

so far, in the few interviews that I have done, there have been reactions regarding age;
mind association that connects age with physical and mental abilities
beauty, energy, hopes and dreams, curiosity, interest …
often I hear concerns, at any age, be it 20, 30, 40
fear, unmet expectations
our own or others
trying to keep up with the time
and the time ticking

The interesting thing with Gail is that age seems like an irrelevant word.

“ 77, what about it ? Nothing ! I’m grateful; I love double numbers.”

When does one become old?

“ It’s a mental attitude, an outlook …
I find it’s enriching because the wisdom is with age,
because of past experiences …
You have great memories of past experiences and that keeps you young,
in thought, mind …
Then I am just grateful;
Thank you!
I’m still able to be independent, and that’s everything.

Being a woman, when you go through menopause that’s the beginning of getting old
and you know it, you feel it, you sense it
you know your limits little by little
and the thing is not to give into your limits because you’ll loose all that muscle
muscle disappears quickly and you want to keep your muscle more or less ”

Time or age never affected you?

“ No, I had a lot of desires so I just went…
I never needed a lot of comfort, I didn’t need to have luxury.
You can be very vain about your body, your face and your living style
and I don’t think I was enhanced with vanity. “

the conversation will keep going
what inspires me with Gail is her will power
whatever Gail wants, Gail gets some way or another
she has lived and is living her life just like she wants
she has embraced an innumerable amount of projects
art, travel, work
she is creative, curious, passionate
she is demanding to herself and others
and is incredibly generous
her life has been and remains full

Next project? : “ my goal is when I’m 80 I’ll go to Cuba “

I love it

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Catherine Bussiere: Blue Kaouki

Blue Kaouki
it’s the name of a hotel
in Sidi Kaouki
long beach, pounding waves, surfers, camels, goats, dogs with teeth that mean it
travelers, campground, hotels, restaurants, surf shack, bicycles
low key
laid back
lovely

our job here is to welcome clients, make breakfast (on the rooftop patio), keep the place tidy
easy

there has only been few clients at a time
only so much to do
we end up chatting, hanging out throughout the day
sharing a little of our lives
I love it
we met a few germans, some english folks, a lovely french couple

Claudia turned 30 while she was here
the big three o
on Friday the 13th
I made her some nice fluffy pancakes with honey syrup
good start to her day

I like this job of easing people’s morning
serve coffee and fresh pressed orange juice
flip an egg
serve that delicious Moroccan bread
(it is delivered warm around 8 every morning)

we will be here until the end of our trip
over the next four weeks
I’ll introduce you to some of our clients
a snapshot and a quote
(yes, yes, I am inspired by humans of New York, the clever idea is not mine)
here’s the first

Drusilla

This lady came in with a cane, luggage and bottles of wine. She told me her doctor told her not to travel. She has been coming to Morocco for years. She is now writing a novel that takes place here. She likes to write at night with a glass of wine and a cigaret. Classic.

What do you like about Morocco?
– I like the people. People don’t care about how you look. They care about who you are.

What makes you happy?
– The lack of pain.

What bugs you?
– Rudeness

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Catherine Bussiere: Taroudant, another carpet ride

After a memorable stay in the desert (I missed last week’s blog for lack of internet but you will find a post on that experience here if you like) we are now in Taroudant, a town that the locals call “the small Marrakech”. We got off the bus two days ago after a long ride through more Atlas where stunning scenery of mountains and valleys, dry river beds, oasis, herds of sheep, dusty road stands with colorful potteries kept us entertained. The landscapes in these parts are rugged and beautiful.

As we got off the bus I started looking for a taxi when Thami, upon asking me where we were staying, offered us directions then took upon himself to lead us there and carry some of our luggage. When I offered Thami a tip for his service he promptly refused, welcoming us to his town and offering us to take a horse drawn carriage ride with him for a tour of the city the next morning at a very reasonable price. Why not. We’ve never done that.

If there is something I have to learn about morocco it’s to be open to whatever the day will give (or lead to). The ride with Thami didn’t last an hour as I had expected, it took most of the day. Not only did he show us the city rampart where here and there we hopped off to climb, get a good view and take photos (he knew of all the good spots for pictures) but he made us visit the souk and of course some shops. Now the nice thing about visiting shops with a tour guide is that you are made to feel that there is no obligation or pressure to buy anything. Have a look, ask questions, take pictures.

We visited a women cooperative where several products are made from the argan nut. I already had bought argan oil in Fes so there was no need for more. We visited a jewelry shop and there, since this region is famous for this art, and because we had not indulged yet, Charlotte and I splurged. We went into an ancient synagogue transformed into a art shop where I saw the biggest carpet show room I had seen yet on this trip along with several rooms filled with ancient and new art from Morocco and other African country.We might as well have stepped into Ali Baba’s cavern. I knew nothing there was within my budget but oh my, what a feast for the eyes.

We saw mountain of spices at the market, and several other small artisan shop. But what took the main part of our tour was yet another carpet shop owned by one of Thami’s relative. Soon after we got in and as a gentleman was about to show us some carpets (tea already on it’s way) we did let them know that we had already bought carpets and blanket earlier on the trip. In fact, that was the heavy piece of luggage that Thami helped us carry the night before. No problem my friends, just have a look, no need to buy.

Of course you know what is next. Next comes an array of beautiful thin blankets made of camel hair and cactus fiber. They are light and roll up to almost nothing. When will I ever have a chance to acquire such beauty. We ponder, we do not have enough cash, I plead that we must go back to the hostel and get a credit card if we are to make a purchase. I think that really we should finish our tour first. The gentleman doesn’t settle for that. It is Friday, couscous day, why don’t you join us for couscous. Finish the tour then come eat with us. Hum, homemade couscous is an invite no one should refuse. We agree, we finish the tour, we come back. I know already that we will get those blankets. After couscous and more tea we not only get three but four blankets.

Maybe because we are not good at bartering, maybe because we spend time, maybe because tourism is low at the moment, who knows, not only our gentleman lowers the price a little but he trows in a few cushion covers to go with the blankets and give Eric a Fatima hand for his mom. Hands are shaken, shukran (thank you) exchanged, we are all happy with our day. Moroccans depends on tourism and will do their best to give you a good time. I have seen here some of the most beautiful craft / art there is. Generation of men and women have passed down their skills from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and most of what you see has been made by hard working hands.

Thanks to Thami and extended family for a great day yesterday.

Here are some photos for you textile and art lover!

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ps. one more thing, we visited Amoon, a collaborative of Berber women in Taroudant today, there was one rug that was hooked!

Here is their website: anmoon.com

If you ever visit Taroudant do visit their shop.

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Catherine Bussiere: Chaouen blues

On the ferry we saw the edge of the Rif mountains
Africa
looking for a culture shock
looking for extra heat

we had been told many things
the cabs, the haggling, the food, the art, the hospitality
go to: Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech
do this, don’t do that
and
it won’t be much warmer

we experienced the cab first thing
an old Mercedes
the grand taxi
from Tangier port to the city
a good half hour drive
full speed

as soon as we step out a young boy is offering us direction
I know where I am going
I have my map
it’s around the corner
still he is one step ahead of me
pointing to where I am going
I tell him I have no money
which is true, I will need to find a bank first thing to get some local change
it doesn’t make any difference
one step ahead of me he goes

we’re at the hostel
still the boy and now another one are waiting around for us to be done with checking in
they want to take us to their uncle or other relative for dinner
we are exhausted and just want to settle in
it has been a long day
the clerk who knows them shoos them off

welcome to Morocco

Next day Chefchaouen or like people say Chaouen
the blue city
the Medina (the old city) is so pretty
just big enough to think you may get lost
but really, small, so you don’t

cats are everywhere
most of them look good
I think it’s a good sign
our hosts at the Riad are most welcoming
our house is your house
truly

we venture around
I click away
every door, every step
every shade of blue
catches my eye

there are shops everywhere
everything is beautiful
I don’t dare let my eye linger too much
the vendors know
they will catch me
once your caught it’s hard to get out

eventually I get caught
come to see this carpet shop one says
I will take you there
innocently I go
sure, let’s have a peak
we are treated the royal way
the place is large
mounds and mounds of carpets and blankets
all of them absolutely gorgeous
two men are busy picking several out to show
unrolling them on the floor
tea is offered
we agree
it’s a ritual
it’s also a trap

I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything that day
I was going to be smart and inform myself first
I had been told to bargain
I was not going to buy anything big
we are backpacking

you see where this is going

a couple hours later I came out with a large carpet
two small ones
and two blankets

did I bargain?
no
I couldn’t get myself to do it
the craftsmanship shown to me was so beautiful
how could I undermine it

later I felt a bit like a fool
my daughter and I, on another walk, got caught in a different shop
the vendors are so slick
so nice
like fine fisherman, they know how to hook you and slowly get you in
I am the biggest fish around
he offers prices that are way below what I just paid
I feel tired, I had enough
we manage to get out of this one empty handed

my daughter tells me what we got was way better
thanks Charlotte

there is much to adjust culture wise
as a foreigner I don’t want to offend anyone
we are in Muslim country
what do I know
much to learn

we are in Fes today
biggest Medina in the world
this time we will get lost

here are some Chaouen photos
enjoy

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Catherine Bussiere: almond cake

Last Sunday I did make an almond cake

I don’t think I’ve given you this recipe before and it is one of the best cake I make

It barely has flour and the little it has could be replaced by a non gluten one

it has no butter or milk so it is dairy free

boring you’re starting to think

think again

this cake is mostly nuts, eggs a little sugar and can be covered with whipped cream

originally it was a hazelnut cake

I once replaced the hazelnut with almonds

I played a bit with proportion

and this past Sunday I did something very decadent and exciting

I made baklava syrup and poured it all over the cake once it was done

this is what I will share with you today

My new favorite almond cake

for the cake you will need:

2 1/2 cups of freshly roasted ground almonds (roast the almonds then ground them)

6 tablespoons of flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

10 eggs

1 1/2 cup of sugar

Beat eggs and sugar. Add the ground almonds. Mix in flour and baking powder.

Bake in a large dish 20 minutes at 350ºF.

Now you can eat the cake just like that or if you want bake it in two round cake pan and you can put raspberry jam in the middle then cover it with whip cream or skip the jam and make a ganache (melted chocolate with cream) and cover the cake with it, whatever you fancy, it’s already delicious.

But if you want my new version, once the cake comes out of the oven, pour this syrup all over it.

for the syrup you will need:

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

3/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves (if you have some)

4 lemon slices

4 orange slices

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and cool syrup.

To be honest I did not quite mesure the ingredients for the syrup. If you don’t have much honey put more sugar and if you don’t want to use sugar put more honey. The key for this syrup is the citrus and spices.

Also if you go with this version and think wow, too much sugar here, you can reduce the amount in the cake a little or just skip the syrup all together.

In the end it is a really easy cake to make and is absolutely delicious, nutritious, healthy and quite stunning if you go the whipped way. Speaking of, next time I will make it with the syrup and then serve it with a beautiful dollop of vanilla whipped cream.

That ought to be good.

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Catherine Bussiere: Atalbeitar

long days, short week
where does the time go
officially by 9am we should all start working
it’s about right, más o menos quince minutos

Alma goes to school
she is four years old
has curly blond hair
and the features of an angel
morning revolves around getting her to the bus in time
like any other household with a child in school

there is a breath of relief, a sense of achievement, when she is off
we did it again
we can go on with our day

a long list of various task is written on a large piece of paper pinned to the kitchen door
everyone has something to do
sanding, painting, fixing, building
ongoing maintenance of a restored house
very different from our house
this house has rocks for roofing
the ceiling of my bedroom is made of large beams holding a wooden structure that supports loads of rocks
the walls are made of blocks of cement covered with plaster
it enable a creative person to shape them as they wish
to insert rounded selves and small alcoves
I quite like it (I love it)
I want a house like that

it is snowing this morning
first snow we see on our trip
we are way up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
it’s not unusual to have a little snow this time of year

although Christmas has gone by this snow makes us feel like Christmas

everyday we go for a walk
this village is tiny
it has a church, a bar (run by a gentleman named Jesus) and a handful of houses
most of the time you won’t see anyone in the streets except for cats
I have been thinking there may be more stray cats then people living here
I’m not too far off

the houses are all white
every year they get a fresh coat of lime wash
apparently it has antimicrobial properties
you can spot the villages from a distance
white slashes on the mountains

I like it here
every single time we go for a walk I end up picking either: almonds, walnuts or chestnuts off the ground
mostly almonds
people grow almonds around here
I keep writing this word: almond, because it pretty much blows my mind
it’s a dream come true
picking almonds off the ground, cracking the shells with a rock and eating them
I can scratch that off my bucket list
but I don’t want to
I want to live in a place where I can have an almond tree

do you think I could have one in my greenhouse?

time for another cup of tea
it’s Sunday, it’s snowing, I might just go bake an almond cake

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Catherine Bussiere: I love Spain

It’s tempting to talk about where I am at the moment but I may have to wait until next week for that

on Monday there was an amazing Kings parade in Barcelona
that could be a post in itself
the three kings parade is really the kids Christmas here
That’s who they write their wish list to and that’s when they get their present
the parade was magical
floats, carts, crazy rolling cars, masks, dancers
it was like a circus

Wednesday night we took the train to Grenada and arrived early the next morning
We had rented a room in the Albayzín district, I’ll call it the old quarter
from the shared roof patio of the apartment we had a fantastic view of the Alhambra which we visited the next day
What struck me the most with the old quarter was the stone work
the roads, sidewalk, pathways are all neatly laid with pebbles forming various pattern
some squares look like mosaics
everywhere you walk is like a beautiful stone carpet
it just amazed me
so much time and detail put into the common place

I felt so happy
sure I am on vacation
but I was pondering upon the effect of beauty in your everyday surroundings
the fact that everywhere you look is beautiful
that an artist, an artisan, an architect put some thought, time and effort into making something, the most common thing, like a pavement, beautiful
what does that do to one self
to walk amongst beauty everyday
it sure made me feel good

as if that was not enough
we visited the Alhambra the next day
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex
it is one of the most visited place in Spain
depending on the time of year you would have to reserve tickets weeks ahead to get a chance to visit it

The Alhambra is breathtaking
the outside of the buildings are rather plain
the views from the fortress let you admire the city and the snow caped mountains in the distance
eventually you get into the main palace
that’s when your jaws drops
walls and ceiling are ornate with what I thought was carved stone but turns out to be plaster
there is water flowing everywhere
there are courtyards with orange trees, pools with goldfish, palm trees that turned out to be date trees
we walked at a slow pace taking it all in
peace, beauty and serenity emanated from the place

we are now since yesterday up in the mountains near Pitres
the village we are in only has pathways, no roads for cars
we are up in the mountains on the south slope
our hosts are young artists with a lovely 4 year old daughter
I haven’t taken any pictures yet
I will save that for next week
all I can tell you is that I keep falling in love with Spain
over and over again

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Catherine Bussiere: Catalonia Art

yesterday we went to visit the Catalonia art museum

I mostly spent time walking through the modern art exhibit

rooms and rooms of paintings, sculptures, furniture, drawings, metal work, photography you name it

the great thing was that I only knew very few of the artists

there might have been one Picasso and one Dali

of course there were some Miro

but otherwise I really didn’t know much

How refreshing and exciting to discovery all this art

here is some of it

enjoy

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Catherine Bussiere: Margate

Margate, seaside town
I love: the early quietness, the sounds of seagulls, the salty smell in the breeze
I love looking out at the sea
some morning there is no line between water and sky
variation of blues blend in one another
coming from Nova Scotia I should be use to this
but in Nova Scotia I don’t live by the sea
We are lucky this week to have a flat that looks onto it
and huge windows to boot

highlight of the week
a very long walk along stunning chalk cliffs
Chalk Cliffs
I didn’t know cliffs could be made of chalk
it feels like they should be all dissolved already
there is a castle sitting on an edge
it’s been made into condos
there are big walls protecting the cliff
to the water you’d go little castle

Broadstairs
it’s the name of a town
we walk all the way to it
highlights: pasties at the meat shop
ooooo the nice meat shop
something so nice about a shop that knows it’s business
we buy several pasties
pasties: take some dough, could be flaky, could be like pie dough, make it good either way. Add just about anything in the middle of that dough. Like a sausage, a burger with condiment, a whole breakfast: bacon and eggs and ketchup too, a beef stew, a beef stew with veggies, the list goes on…
I think the English invented a fantastic to go food
if it’s done well it is quite good
the ones we had were delicious
the best: an apple turnover loaded with apples

Other food highlights
because isn’t food an ongoing highlight when you travel
we have free tab at the local pizza shop
the ladies we are staying at and helping out are back in London and own a fine pizza place
they can’t cook for us, we get as much pizza as we want
by now we have tried all of them
by now we are a little sick of pizza
but, the one that stands out, because it is a combo I’ve never had before on the thinnest pizza dough I ever bitten into is the Blue Cheese and Pear
notice that I used capital letters for Blue Cheese and Pear
it’s that good

yesterday because we all had enough pizza I made a chicken pot pie
that was quite delicious
comfort food

what else
it was Halloween and plenty of local fireworks kept exploding everywhere
Friday and Saturday
???
November first is All Saint’s Day
Day of the dead in Mexico
I bet they have lots of fireworks there too
we don’t do that in Canada
November 5th will be Guy Fawkes day
all around England people will light big bond fire
to celebrate a failed attempt to blow up King James 1st
???
the poor guy was found maybe minutes before he was to light the fuse that was to blow up the houses of parliament
to the Tower of London you go!
and for your mischief we will light fires all over England forever
that was four hundred years ago

interesting how habits and customs come about

well I must go help and paint some more
maybe we’ll go on another big walk later today
few more days in Margate and off to Paris
oh la la
looking forward to croissant, cheese and wine

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a sheep’s arse and other such stuff

This week I have been back at the studio quite a bit, re imagining the space, hooking and dreaming a bit. I am getting excited to think that with in weeks I’ll actually have a new book arriving, Simply Modern is due out in October. The thought of a few years work all being packed into 120 pages between hard covers, yup…it’s in hard cover is pretty awesome. I love putting years and words and ideas in a book form. It must be what it is like for a musician to put together an album. It is a gathering of things that you have worked hard on and loved over a period of time. It is curated, edited, reimagined and finally collated together. The new book is one full of ideas and how too, chocked full of practical knowledge. It is different from any book I have written yet which excites me. I am eager to hear what readers think of it.

You can see below a sneak peek of what I am hooking and the wool from the Fleece Artist that I am about to use next.  The last couple of days Brenda and I cleaned the studio and she made some new bundles. I think she wanted to clobber me yesterday when I started moving furniture. She told me to wait til after lunch as she had orders to get out and I did. I have been known to drop bookcases and chairs on myself moving furniture on my own.The thing is though once you start moving a few things it feels pretty good, and once you move one thing, something else cries out, “Move me too.” And so you do.

We moved around the furniture and brought our pet sheep ( they are not real) out from under the table to the top of the table. We moved around some rugs and planned a run new contest for then blog this fall. Megan is going to post it soon so keep on the look out.

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I love an unfamiliar quote

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IMG_4121                                   Oh Tiffendel… Oh Tiffendel (I’m singing here) you make my landscape so easy

 

Catherine Bussiere: lots to do

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– those are very small Beckwith news by the way
the mosquitoes are back
it’s been driving us crazy
it’s the end of the summer crop
they are small and they are hungry

then there is the garden in it’s full mature beauty
I walked through parts of it this morning looking at patterns
closing in to borage
how velvety it seems

a friend of mine spent the week here working away at four short videos
she is a percussionist extraordinaire
it’s been fun helping her out

but the most exciting news at the moment
is our upcoming trip to Europe
this week more then any
things have developed
we now know for sure that we will be helping out for a month
harvesting olives in Southern France
it sounds romantic
maybe it’ll be brutal
I doubt it
I’m up for new grounds, experiences and challenges

on my to do list coming right up
is a blog site (shared with my daughter)
that will feature our adventures in Europe
I’d like to keep posting photos and make short videos

I will keep a post on Deanne’s Sunday blog
it will most likely be linked to my new blog site
must figure that out

for now my friend is waiting
today we must wrap up her video projects
lots to do
have a good week

geometrically Inspired Landscape by Tzigane Caddell

Tzigane Caddell came to Kaffe and Brandon’s workshops and brought along a rug she finished after attending a design workshop she did with me last fall. You c an see from the look on her face that she is really happy with the rug she created and she should be. It is beautiful. It is great to watch people blossom in their work. This geometrically inspired landscape is a natural progression from the geometrics that Tzigane has found herself attracted to for years. Her sense of colour is jewel like for this rug. I think she did a marvellous hob and I so appreciated her bringing it to show me.

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Catherine Bussiere: Kaffe

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my daughter and I had a delightful time at Kaffe Fasset’s presentation the other night
what a fantastic feat to be able to get such inspiration in our little town
the things I took home from Fasset’s presentation is that inspiration is everywhere
in your garden, in that old faded rug, at the flea market
it’s about having your eyes open
having an urge to create
to process what you see and put it into your own creation
it is for everyone
everyone who dares
it is not limited to the educated
it does not have to be thought out
it just is for whoever wants to embark and do
it may takes years
it may take a moment
it does not matter

the church was full on Friday evening
filled with people who makes art and craft
what a soothing sight
thanks Deanne and Megan and everyone at “this world class shop” to keep engaging people to create beauty everyday
thumbs up!

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Catherine Bussiere: passion

If you read my previous blogs you know that I spent some time with family in Quebec.

I’ve been back for I week now and I miss them all already.

During my stay I spent a lot of time with my nephew Eliot and my niece Léonie.

It was precious.

For them I made this short video. It’s about passion, creativity, beauty, nature. It’s a little dreamy thanks to the music by Chan Wai Fat.

The commentary, by Eliot, is in french.

Here is the translation:

“I make flies since I’m 6 or 7. It’s my dad that showed me. I like it a lot. Since then I make lots.”

“I like to know that this fly will go on the water, fish will see it. It’s fun when you catch a fish and it’s you that made the fly.”

“I like to fish because; you’re on the water, you see fish, you’re in nature, all of those things that brings you close to nature.”

“When I’m fishing… I feel like… with all my equipment, in the middle of the river… I feel good… I don’t know how to say it… I lose a bit the notion of time… I can stay there a long time… so much I like it… That’s it.”

 

Catherine Bussiere: bike ride

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it is sunny
it is warm
it smells like fresh cut grass
it smells like a warm summer forest
there’s bugs
there’s birds
and fishes
and wild flowers

it’s the country
another country side
a hilly one
with fields, forests, tractors, and hidden ponds
with nephews and a niece
and bikes

it’s June
and it’s summer

Diane Krys: Artful Gardening

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Some years my backyard patio is chock full of blooming pots and other years I feel like I only need to plant a few for colour. For many summers my plant containers were found objects like vintage kitchen canisters or rusty buckets from my dad’s farm. I’ve even used old metal bedsprings as trellises. Lately, I’ve taken a simplified approach with a few groupings of plain terra cotta planters. My patio is not so different from the interior of my home where I like to change things up.

Our outdoor spaces are another canvas for our creativity and they can evolve over time. My back yard has dramatically changed over the years. When we realized we couldn’t keep up the giant garden we inherited we consoled ourselves with all the great farmer’s markets we could support and went for a “clearing in the woods” look by planting an abundance of hardy, low maintenance trees and shrubs. For a city space my yard might be considered over treed and a little on the wild side but I love how it attracts the birds and makes me feel like I’m living in the country instead of a hop,skip and jump from downtown.

I used to keep thriving raspberry canes in check using discarded black metal store fixtures until our maturing trees obstructed the light and dwindled the raspberry patch.  I enjoyed this black tubular “sculpture”  intertwined with tasty raspberries until our butternut tree grew into it’s full magnificence. We now enjoy it’s waterfall of graceful palmate leaves instead. I find it incredibly beautiful to watch nature take it’s course; the energy and vigour, and the quiet recessions. Gardening is like a call and response dance between nature’s impulses and our own; ever changing and always surprising.

I marvel when we can harmonize with nature and bring our own creativity to the mix. When I travel I love taking photographs of these artful expressions. Here’s a few photos that inspire me from trips I took to our east and west coasts. What’s going on in your garden?

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I’ve launched my new blog on my new website, pop in for a visit if you have a minute!

Look with Lorna

Deanne’s newest rug ! The background is done with sexy jersey. I think this is one of my favourite.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: April = Easter Eggs

you’ve heard them sing

you’ve seen it thaw

it’s crazy how fast a season can change

one week we are buried under a blanket of snow

and the next the narcissus are poking their noses out

 

I was busy in my green house yesterday getting the ground ready, planting a few seeds

lettuce, spinach, beets

early greens that I hope to munch on in a month time

this morning thinking of Easter coming up

I looked for the eggs that were decorated last year

I wrote a blog then and I will share it again

if you have some old silk ties, or scarfs, or any silk with pretty patterns on it

round up some kids, empty a dozen eggs, and be ready to be awed

happy Sunday!

oh yes: the LINK

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Catherine Bussiere: Souvlaki

There are mornings where I feel like cheating
Meaning I will not try too hard to write a blog
I’ll just post a recipe
It’s not really cheating
it could be seen as a gift
sounds much better
it’s all about point of view

speaking of view here is today’s weather report
it’s another grey day but there are no snowfall warning in effect (= improvement)
the sap is running
and the sun is trying hard to pierce through all these layers of grey
I have a feeling it might succeed

Last night I was hungry and inspired
those are two things that can equal into a good dinner
I happened to have all I needed to make a Greek style meal
I made my own version of souvlaki

You will need:

pork, chicken or lamb

for the marinade: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper

Chop meat in cubes. Marinate in oil mixture for 8 hours (for 1 pound of meat have 1/2 cup of oil mix – with lots of fresh herbs – looks and smells like a tasty dressing)

Cook meat on parchment paper in hot oven (doesn’t take long)

Serve on pita with tzaziki, chopped tomatoes and cucumber
or serve with rice and Greek salad

Tzaziki: drain 750 g of balkan yogurt in cheese cloth for a few hours. Put 1 grated cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle salt over. Let sit a couple hours to extract water. Rinse and drain cucumber (squeeze all that water out). Mix drained yogurt and cucumber. Add grated garlic, pepper, mint or dill. Taste, see if it needs salt.

* Lately I mix a small container of sour cream with half container of astro balkan yogurt and skipped the draining bit for the yogurt. Of course I get the 14% sour cream. Works well.

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Catherine Bussiere: ice storm and soup

sometimes I just feel like soup
that was the case the other night
March is definitively a good month for soup
all winter really thinking of it

so here we go for enough soup to feed 6 hungry frozen souls

1 large onion
1 red pepper
1 extra large carrot
1/3 of a medium size cabbage

chop chop chop all of the above
drizzle some olive oil in a large pot
on medium high heat starting with the onion, caramelize the veggies

add some salt, some pepper, cumin, garam masala (if you have some kicking around)
add a little sugar

take your time during this process and maybe even turn the heat down
this is when the aroma of your soup gets developed, roasting veggies and spice

then

Add the equivalent of a can of chickpeas
little more or less is fine (I had some left over)
add enough water to make it soupy
if you have broth it’s better yet
otherwise add a cube or two of bouillon
at this point I added a few shake of cajun mix (if you don’t have any replace with a dash of cayenne, some oregano and any other herbs that may inspire you)

Bring to a boil then add 1 cup of uncooked noodles of your choice or if you have left over cooked noodle throw them in, but maybe do that last minute as they will swell.

Simmer until the noodles and veggies are done. Add 1 can of tomato sauce. Whatever you have on hand. This will thicken your soup nicely. Taste and make adjustments. Turn the heat off and add the zest of one lemon.

Serve and shake some parmesan on that = Wholesome deliciousness!

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Lunch with Mr. Gibson

Dear Diary,

I was out to lunch at the Art of eating Deli and brought my computer to work on the new online course I am creating. I was focused on my work . The restaurant was busy and a couple came in so I told them they could sit at my table. I kept on working and they enjoyed their lunch. It would have been easy for us to ignore each other but somehow it did not seem right not to engage in just a little conversation.  I had my head down and was working so a polite smile would have done it.

The deeper we get into technology, the closer we get our laptops or our phones, the less likely we are to encounter each other. I notice it everywhere. There are no dull silences anymore because we have our phones. We don’t feel alone so we are less likely to strike up a conversation with each other. Some of you do not feel that way I know, but many of us find our phones good company. We are not plugged into the phone, but to all the people it connects us with.

Anyway today at lunch after I worked a bit and they had finished their meal I lifted my head and said, “Are you visiting?”….

and the answer was “Yes, we are here on a tour.  I wrote this book about writers.”

I immediately said, “Ah I read about it…”

Happily he smiled, “Really you did?”

“Yes, tell me about your tour” I said, and he did, and his partner chimed in and told some stories too. We had a sweet visit. It made my day so much more interesting. I wanted to ask his wife what she did but I find it such a nosy question ( I hate asking that question) that I refrained. They were both charming. Full of stories about interesting things.

If I had kept my head down I would have missed having lunch with Douglas Gibson, whom Alistair Macleod once spoke about and said, “No one has done more for Canadian Literature than this man.”  He is one of  Canada’s most famous editor’s and publishers, former president of McClelland and Stewart, and editor/publisher  to Alice Munro, Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan, Mavis Gallant and a host of famous authors.

So here’s the thing…enjoy your phone or your computer

….but remember to keep your head up and engage the people around you cause it makes for a nice story when you do.

Douglas Gibson’s book is called “Stories about Storytellers” and comes out in Soft Cover on April 1, with an extra story about Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize for Literature. I plan to read it. You can visit his website here.

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hookin’ and cookin’ and the mystery pattern club

We have decided that we really appreciate mystery pattern club members. We just sent out our second Mystery Pattern, and I just hooked up the third! They are small patterns, 15 by 15″ or around that size so you always have something on the shelf ready to hook. I liken it to the feeling of always having another good book waiting for you on the shelf.They are committed to us so we’re committed to them too. In the Month of March all mystery pattern club members will be interred to win one of Roberta Hancock’s pure silver necklaces.

You can join here

I hope you all have a good weekend. I am cooking beans and fishcakes this weekend with some salt cod that I have in soak right now. I do not have any big plans but I hope to do lots of walking if we do not get any more snow and lots of hooking on Sunday. Typical weekend for me, hookin’ and cooking’

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Mystery Pattern Rug Winner and Rug Hooking Scissors for orders over $50

Lots of news going on in the shop.

We have been busy with orders because with every order over $50 we are sending a pair of rug hooking scissors as a gift. As well we are drawing up all the patterns for the mystery pattern club. If you have been thinking of joining you should. We add lots of little extras for club members , including prize draws and a private Facebook page where you can see the progress of the patterns. I just finished the pattern for February and writing the members a note. I also created a few little tuckables…that is things we can tuck in the package.

We now have a steady group on our Wild with Wool Facebook Page.There are plenty of postings there. This page is set up only for members of the Monthly Mystery Pattern Club and for people who have taken our online courses, including the new Abstract Class.  It is a great way to keep in touch with other members of the club or people you have taken an online course from.

You can join the Mystery Pattern Club here. We are drawing up February’s mystery pattern today and I am really happy with it. We feel that the members of this club deserve some special treatment so last month we drew for an original hooked rug. Peggy Blazek from Indianapolis was the winner and she chose the Red Anemone shown here. Peggy has been to the studio for a workshop all the way from Indianapolis so we are especially pleased to have mailed her one of my original hooked rugs. I was so pleased to see it mailed off. We will be doing more draws for club members because they are special.

All our blog readers are special of course and that is why tomorrow we draw for the Blundstones so we will post the winner next week. It is good to have a bit of cheer in February.

For Valentines and until February 22 when you order $50 worth of supplies from the online shop we will include a pair of stainless steel rug hooking scissors (value $22) in your order. I am really serious when I say we appreciate our customers.  I do. All of us t the studio do. Thank you so much for your ongoing support.

Remember Wild with Wool online Course starts February 28!

I know we got a lot going on but there are a lot of you out there hooking rugs and you all like something different.

You will receive these rug hooking scissors when you purchase $50 with at the studio, online or over the phone. 1-800-328-7756

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This rug has been mailed to Nystery Pattern Club Member Peggy Blazek. I wonder what we’ll draw for next. Brenda and Megan get your thinking caps on.

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My rug is wearing well by the back door. I love the softness under foot when I go barefoot. All rug hookers deserves a rug on the floor. Why not?

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I hope you will join the Mystery Pattern Club

Catherine Bussiere: February 9

I like how winter is going by
days getting longer
How many minutes a day again?
only a bit (about three)
and so in a sneaky way
day by day
we get more light

I like this time of year because I can look up to things
Spring, summer, garden, heat
All things that I love are in the horizon

There is a lot penned down in my calendar for February
It’s almost surprising
Wasn’t I hibernating
wishful thinking

This week will be my daughters birthday
17
how come it sounds so much more then 16
funny how numbers are
she asked me to make her a tiramisu
that in itself is rather exciting
Tiramisu is an italian dessert that involves ladies finger (the cookies), fine chocolate, mascarpone cheese (like a rich and creamy italian cream cheese), whipped cream and whipped eggs
it may involve brandy
it’s light, it’s rich, it’s scrumptious

This past Monday my son had an opening
he will be graduating from art school this year
he is a creator, a sculptor, a designer
he is a fine artist

my photos this week are from his show
it was called In(ter)action
the premise: you may touch the art
in fact it demands to be touched

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long winter evenings

Another winter evening is starting to fall upon us. The light lasts a little longer but the evenings are still long. The other night I drove in the light until six o’clock. It was so nice to have the light a little longer. I have to admit though I like the dark evenings and mornings too. I go up to my studio after supper and hook under the lamp light. It is difficult to chose colours but if you know your colours you are all set. In the morning if I wake up early , like five am, I just snuggle in the dark for another snooze. There is kind of a comfort in the dark.

Where I grew up winter started at three o’clock, right after school. Anytime after three was called the evening. Now I find it is more like five o’clock before we consider it evening.

I do miss long walks on clear roads with no ice. I miss a cool wind against a light fall or spring jacket.  Winter isn’t easy but there are wood fires that cozy it up some. There are soups and stews, and getting cold and warming up. There are hot baths. You can light the candles early cause it is dark . I also love wearing warm scarves, and pretty cowls. What do people in warm places do with their sweaters? I love pulling on a baggy sweater.

When I look at the pictures  below I also know that I love the palette of winter. Greys and greens,whites, creams and taupes. This is the palette of my home . I feel comfortable in it.

I guess I try to make the best of winter. I get overwhelmed by snow storms but there were two days this week that there was barely any snow on the ground and you could walk around like it was spring. In Nova Scotia, we get those little reprieves and I appreciate them. It feels a bit like getting away.

I have been hooking and knitting a lot in my long evenings. I fill them with colour. I think they might be a bit grey if I did not. I need things to do . I have also been visiting. You’ll find people at home in these winter evenings and they welcome a bit of company. I too like it when someone comes to the door and stays for a cup of tea. It breaks up the evening and lightens things a bit. Winter company is as welcome as spring.

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Catherine Bussiere: Abstract

Abstract: Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. (Rudolph Arnheim, Visual Thinking)

I like that: “which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references”

I played with that thought this morning in my kitchen
looking to distort
looking at shapes
stepping away from references
taking one thing and making it another
looking for feel rather than imagery

once taken, images were cropped
slightly modified to bring them, yet, to another place
how interesting to use one medium, photography, which is so representative, and go down the abstract path

 
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The following pictures don’t really go into the abstract category but I wanted to share them with you as I really enjoyed taking them earlier this week.

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Win some Blundstones …Make a floor mat… See our new patterns

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My New Boots came to me wrapped as a Christmas Present….Maybe you’ll win yours on Valentines Day

and the boots can rest on your mat by the door….

Here’s a new idea….let’s put mats on the floor!

Let’s put boots on our mats.

Let’s really use them.

I just put a hooked rug by my back door to wipe our feet on. Yes I did. I had a tinge of “Oh noooo” but it was soon over come with “Let’s wear this thing out.” I just decided it was time to get back to my roots. A mat by the door. It might be the next big thing. Everything old is new again…sometime.

I became really certain I was doing the right thing when I walked across it in my bare feet.

Luxury.

Made with my own hands.

This year I think I’ll be making floor rugs and I invite you to join me.

Lets get back to basics…good old black boots and a mat by the door.

It’s a bit of a floor mat challenge.

Maybe you have a room that needs a rug…why not create your own carpet.

Many of my new pattern designs make great floor mats. Some are just fun designs to hook for anywhere.

So we’ll be putting names in the box and drawing the prize on Feb . 14.

Here is how you enter…go have a look at our new patterns and tell us in the comments which one is your favorite and why.

You can enter at the studio too, we have the catalog here if you want to drop in and a ballot box.

We’ll do a random draw on February 14 from all the entries online and in the studio and we’ll ship you a pair in your size or you can come try the sizes.

No purchase is necessary. We are happy are to hear about your favourites.

See our New Patterns HERE

Like Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio on Facebook

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Catherine Bussiere: Serendipity

I like embracing new words
think about them, get a feel of what they mean
english being a second language, every so often I come across a new one that I have to tame
serendipity is one of them
I had, last Monday, the perfect embodiment of the word

About a year ago, my daughter, then in grade 10, announced that she was going to finish high school the following year. She had talked to the school councillor, she had done her research and it was figured out that if she took two classes on her own through distant education and took such and such classes at school she would have all the required credits to graduate. No need to go through another year of high school, she could skip grade 12 all together. Nice. The question was, what will you do the following year. I want to go to Europe, she said, I want you guys to come with me. You guys being my husband and I. In this particular instance I love being you guys.

Clearly, neither my husband nor I questioned that offer. It was the kind of offer we wouldn’t consider saying no to. Our teen daughter wants to spend some extra special time with us before she leaves the nest. Hummmmm, ok.

Now the plan for this coming fall is to travel through Europe or rather visit a few areas and stay, if possible, for up to 6 months. We are not the go on a cruise type or the whirlwind see 12 countries in 12 days type. We are looking at finding a few places where we can spend chunks of time. We found this website called Helpx which connects people from various countries with travelers. In exchange of help around house, garden, business, the host provides shelter and food. Some host have vineyards, bakeries, businesses, small farm they need help with. My personal goal is to learn some new skills, a new language and share my skills. For my husband and daughter it will be, amongst other things, to share their music.

A week ago Sunday we had our first official family meeting. There is plenty to figure out about this trip, just the visa issue was starting to give me a headache. The three of us brought to the table our findings and came to some agreements. It’s a work in progress, getting together made us all that more excited about the infinite possibilities.

Sounds a little gypsy to you, just you wait…

When I came back from work the following day, Monday, I saw a full size winnebago parked in my parking spot. An older one, maybe from the seventies. Now we have musician friends that could potentially own one of those and be touring and be parked in our driveway, but mid January?
I got out of the car, looked around to see the plate and read Tennessee. Louisiana, North Carolina, yes, maybe, but Tennessee… ?
So I get in the house, hear voices in the living room and find my husband in a cheerful conversation with a couple and a teen. We are introduced; Joe, Donna, their son, there is a daughter upstairs with my daughter. They are from Australia. (Oh, ok, now that makes sense!) They have been on the road for years. He is a horse man, a cowboy, a musician, a long rider. He did a lot of his trip solo but is now traveling with his family. He wrote a book that is self published and has cds for sale. They go from town to town telling their story to the newspaper, find a venue, do a show and move on. Like troubadours of another era. Last year they were in Europe for several months. They fill us in with all those details we are wondering about. We talk for hours. My husband plays a few songs, Joe plays a few song. I move to the kitchen and start supper. Little Maddie, the 10 year old daughter, joins me ready to help.

What are you making she says.
Soup, biscuits and brownies.
Can I help?
Sure, let me start the soup, you can help me with the baking.

We shared a meal, stories, they spent the night, we exchanged emails.

Last night they did a show in Tatamagouche, a nearby village. I heard it was well attended.

Oh, you wonder how they got to our place. Serendipity I guess. They stopped at the Chatterbox cafe in Pugwash looking for a venue. That venue being closed the owner who knows us said “you should check out these folks” and instead of driving straight to Tatamagouche like they first intended they backtracked a little and found us. They will be in the maritimes for a few months. If you are curious here is their website: www.joeguylongrider.com

Now, I must go. We are having a meeting!

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Mystery Pattern Club…Mystery Bundle Club

We have had lots of people join and I am excited about the idea that all across North America there will be people getting inspired each month by our mystery pattern club.. Each month I will create a unique pattern on linen inspired by what I am working on or  from one of my original rugs. We’ll send you a new pattern each month. If you like we can also send you a bundle of wool that will be designed for hooking the pattern. Each month it is a new inspiration and it is always a mystery

Join the pattern of the Month Club

Join the Bundle of the Month Club

Take the year to create beauty everyday and join our  pattern of the month club.

$34 each month will deliver a new inspired pattern to your mailbox.

As I hook away on my own designs I will take time each month to create a unique and beautiful pattern for the club.

Each month you will be sent a  pattern on linen (15 by 15 inch or equivalent, each month we’ll have a new size and shape) that is inspired by what I am currently hooking, or by one of my original designs.

Imagine receiving a new hand drawn pattern every month in your mailbox. Imagine the fun that would be.

All you have to do is hook it from the  stash of wool you already have on hand,

or you can opt into our coordinating wool bundle of the month to hook your pattern.

Think of having these hooked designs ready for gift giving, to create pillows, to frame as art for your walls.

Join the club, and receive special club membership bonuses and treats.

You can also add our Bundle of the Month Club so that you will get a special bundle designed each month to go with your pattern.

We will charge your credit card each month.  You can opt out anytime, just call or email to let us know before the 15th day of the month.  We will send out the Mystery Pattern Packages on the last day of the month.

Join our Mystery Bundle of the Month Club and receive a new bundle of wool each month that coordinates with our Mystery Pattern Club. Each month we will build a beautiful inspired bundle of wool using our best and most interesting wools.

Each month you will receive a coordinated bundle of wool for $49.95 (regularly $54.95).

We will charge your credit card each month.  You can opt out anytime, just call or email to let us know before the 15th day of the month.  We will send out the Mystery Wool Bundle Packages on the last day of the month.

Build your stash of wool over the whole year with our beautiful cordinated bundles that are inspired by the creativity around the studio, and a new pattern design each month.

Our large bundles have a combination of wool cloth, fleece and yarn that are guarenteed to create a great colour plan for any pattern you decide to use it on. The bundles will be inspired by nature, the seasons, and whatever interesting pattern of the month that Deanne creates.

Imagine building your stash a bundle at a time over a year. Seeing it grow so that you always have the right colours and textures at your fingertips.

Our regular shipping charges apply .

You can also join our Pattern of the Month Club, where we will create a pattern to go with your wool bundle.

Keep in mind, the Mystery Bundles will contain different colours than the bundle pictured here.

Same blog…same me…just a new format

Hello Everyone , you’ll notice a new  blog format here. That is because we were having some trouble with our website over the past few days and it might have been the blog that was causing it. We are not sure. In the meantime, all the content from the old blog is here, the categories are down the side, and the archive is at the bottom of the page. I do like that you can see the full months worth of posts on the front page. That is a good feature.

As for the content here…..everything will continue as it has. We might have a little adjustment period as we get this worked out but I believe it is minor in the shame of things and that starting fresh in the new year is nothing but positive. I am actually looking forward to a new blog. It feels fresh.

I wanted to show you that I am still here…that the woman behind this new blog format is still Deanne. Here I am standing outside the shop modelling a cowl scarf that I made as a Christmas present. Notice that there are some fancy stitches for a six month old knitter. Well, not exactly fancy but I am pleased with it. The wool is called Rhubarb and it is hand dyed Lichen and Lace yarn from Sackville , New Brunswick.  So it’s still me , still the studio, and you’ll be hearing lots from me and the studio over the winter.

So thank you for bearing with me as we go through a few changes here. We are busy packing presents for all orders over $50, two presents for orders over $100, or three presents for orders over $200.  We extended it until January 7 because it s so much fun to send surprises in every package and because we had had so much trouble with the site. It is working right now so you can order online or call us at 1-800-328-7756.

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Catherine Bussiere: stormy day

it’s the first big one
it’s been announced for days
last week the teachers were planing for it
“it” being, fingers crossed, school closure tomorrow
but that is tomorrow
today is Sunday
winter storm day

lovely this week, my boys are home for the holidays
I did The Big Grocery (which will most likely be followed by several little ones)
I stocked up on spirits
cooking and baking and wrapping has kept us all busy

This year we agreed to dig out our percussion tree
originally it was a large branch on a stand that was covered with percussion instruments for a performance piece
over the years it has been used off and on as our christmas tree
it’s kinda like a Charlie Brown tree but without the needles
or like a Dr. Seuss tree if we attach evergreen branches on it
I’ll show you next week when it’s decorated
I love it

This year the plan is to dig out the old train set
that is my husband’s train set
it will be placed around the tree
we are wrapping all of our presents in boxes and plain craft paper
each box will be painted as buildings and will create a town

We did that once when the kids were little
they decorated all the boxes
it was great
now that they are grown up they want to do it again
I love it

yesterday I made salty pumpkin caramels for the first time
in all my years of baking and cooking and jelly making I never bothered once to get myself a candy thermometer but once I saw that recipe online (and the beautiful video that went with it) I just decided it was time
you don’t want to mess up when it comes to candy
you can very much do it but, hey, I thought I was ready for a new utensil

today I’ve cut them up
just to give you an idea, those caramel contain: cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, spices, and yes, corse salt to decorate, and enhance the whole melt in your mouth bring me to heaven experience

absolutely delicious
clic on CARAMEL for the link

alright, off I go, making tamales tonight!

Happy early Holidays

– hope there’s no school tomorrow –

 

 

 

 

Diane Krys: Feathering My Festive Nest

 

‘Tis the season and I’m  doing up my nest with a touch of Christmas here and there. Putting up a tree is a given but the rest of the house is an ever changing affair from year to year.  The things I already have around the house are providing a good start for a few spots of decoration.My fridge is usually bulging with magnets holding everything from fortune cookie messages to magazine clippings. When I take all the paper clutter away ( which I’ve been meaning to do for months)  I cluster,reshape and add a few of my sister’s handmade gift tags I saved into the magnet mix and voila, I have a wreath in my kitchen.

I position a watchful metal crow sitting on top of an open kitchen shelf into a running pose and wedge a tree trimming and a few balls in his beak. The little devil looks just like the birds I see outside my kitchen window stealing  berries from the trees.

I hang up my carved wooden Santa on a kitchen wall where I can see it from the living room.  It’s a special piece of folk art by Nova Scotia’s Bradford Naugler. This Santa doesn’t need any extra adornment what so ever. I love him just as he is right down to his mismatched mitts. 

I dust off wooden frames containing brightly colored glass shards. Sitting on the windowsill they look like jewels when the light streams through. It’s a perfect spot for my Matroyshka Santas.  A touch of Christmas and a touch of my Ukrainian heritage.

I put up my niece’s paintings  in the living room.  They greet me when I come in the front door and make me smile. They made them at least 3 years ago-maybe more. When they came back the following year, I saw them excitedly pointing to each other that Auntie had their pictures up. Of course, I did!  I treasure these whimsical drawings more with each passing year as I see them grow and change.

I take ornaments the girls gifted me last year and line them up with colorful painted rocks on the stereo.  It seems the holiday season is a time when I always have the tunes going.

Last year I started knitting ball ornaments for the outside trees to go with the tree cozies I’ve shown you in previous year’s posts.  This year the cedars by the front steps are getting in on the knitting action with striped balls.  It doesn’t take many when you make them  big and bold.  I hope to knit a few more. I’m in the mood to knit something mindless and it doesn’t get any easier than knitting squares  then sewing, gathering and stuffing them into ball shapes.

 

 

 

 

 

I think I’m done!  Simple with a light touch-that’s the way I’m rolling this year.  My nest is ready to greet whoever comes up the walk. How ever you feather your festive nest, I hope it’s cosy and that it brings you warm memories and good cheer.  I wish everyone all the best for a wonderful holiday season!

 

Thanks  for stopping in-see you 2014!

Catherine Bussiere: color blast

before it all goes to grey

nature does give us a grand party;  a fiesta of colors

even in the peak of summer we don’t see anything like it

nature, kindly, through spring and summer

reveals one at a time                                                                                                                                                                her bountiful gifts
it’s like fireworks

one could go with a big blast and hope the company will stick around for the dancing devils

or, like nature, give it out one by one

and build up the tension

until bam,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
in a grand explosion                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 give it all

I went for a drive

I went for a walk

truthfully, most of it is off the trees

but omg (if I may) 
the fields

have you seen a blueberry field this time of year

it’s almost too much

it’s like: on fire

and then the forest

it’s a bummer that it’s hunting season now

I just make sure I ruin it for them

I’m going anyway

I yell that I’m not a duck or a dear

I make tons of noise 
and then

I enjoy the feast

for the eye that is

The floor is covered in all shades of reds, yellows, orange and browns

in every corner there is something to frame

the way one leaf fell on another

how it got stuck on a different tree

the end of a cycle

preparing for another

beauty, once more                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 is at hand                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     for who wants to reach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ps. forgive me for the lay out, I seem to have no control over it this week

Diane Krys: Cabinet of Curiosity and Wonder

Part of my creative life is a balancing act between my whirling dervish, collecting ways and maintaining some kind of functional order.  I’ve been working away on new pieces for an upcoming show and despite the looming deadline,I just couldn’t continue until I tended to my nest. I thought  a general studio tidy up would do but once I began I felt such a strong need to handle and reexamine all my supplies and stuff it became a  thorough regrouping and work space makeover. I sorted, purged, reorganized and reacquainted myself with every little thing that had gathered and washed up into my home studio.

Once I edited and all the obvious, necessary materials and tools had found their way to a new order, I was left with a table full of oddities.  All the bits and pieces I tucked into  the edge of a shelf or clustered on top of a box or bin were gathered in one spot. There wasn’t any rhyme, reason or obvious use for the assortment and given I was trying to streamline and focus my creative environment, it would seem to be a no brainer for the purge pile. But I really liked this stuff so I was in a state of torment over what to do  when it occurred to me this motley crew was actually my personal “cabinet of curiosity”.

According to wikipedia, a cabinet of curiosity,also known as a cabinet of wonder, was a collection of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Although the name implies a piece of furniture they were actually a room stuffed with a mixture of objects we would now categorize as natural history, geology,ethnography, archeology,antiquities, etc. In German they were called, Kunstkammer (art-room) or Wunderkammer(wonder-room).   “Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world and a memory theater.” These collections were the precursors to our modern day museums.

While a collection that includes a beat up ukulele, a piece of rust, a fossilized dinosaur bone fragment, a broken shell, a  dull,hand forged farming tool and a handful of obsolete metal type might seem like it has nothing to do with my fiber work, I realized it actually had everything to do with it. These  things spark my curiosity and  cultivate my sense of wonder.

I think about the length of time I’m holding in my hands when I pick up the dinosaur fossil and the  sculptural hoodoo’s of Drumheller, Alberta where I got it. During a day on the beach,I’m drawn to broken shells where I can see tiny holes and patterns in the exposed jagged cross section.  A piece of rust ,plucked right off a local parking lot, has a lovely patina; decay has it’s own beauty. Metal type brings me to  the 1400’s and the invention of the revolutionary Gutenberg press.

Is there anything more important for any creative pursuit than a sense of curiosity and wonder? With that thought I added a new section to my studio.  My cabinet of curiosity and wonder now sits in a wavy edged silver tray on one of my work tables.  Most of it anyway-the ukulele found a home on a shelf where I can admire it’s electric shade of blue.  When you think about it a cabinet of curiosity can be any size, anywhere: a windowsill, a shelf, a bowl. It can consist of whatever you find interesting. When you find a cluster of your doodads,sometimes referred to as clutter, you might already have one!  I’d love to hear about the things that make you wonder.

 

Catherine Bussiere: morning walk

I went for a walk this morning

this is what I saw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

art is the creation of the unseen

Sometimes the questions are more interesting than the answers. A questioning mind is an interesting mind. Sometimes when my children were little they would ask me questions I could not answer. One was, “I wonder what an idea looks like in your head?” My daughter was  small, maybe five or six. My sons’ questions were often about belief and God, and they too of course could receive no definitive answers, other than faith.

Faith is pretty definitive once you decide to believe.

Today I had a nice lunch of cold chicken and potato salad with Harry the Printer. Yup he is still around though he has not appeared in the blog for awhile. He remains my good friend. Today I went out to his house outside of town to visit his garden, which is, fantastic. He has even appeared in a gardening magazine and we just had a nice visit and we yammered away at each other over lunch. It is that kind of friendship. We took a walk through his garden, which was also his grandmothers. The house has been in his family for generations. Of course this version of the garden has been renewed and revised but he remains in the same place where she had guests and kissed her hollyhocks into summer. You could feel the comfort in the place. A cottage in the summer, a cozy farm house in the winter. It is a place that transforms itself from season to season, from generation to generation.

This afternoon after lunch I went to the shore where my own garden lies somewhat abandoned but that too has a history. My husband played here as a child. My own children were raised on this shore in the summer. There is history here. The grape vines have been rolled into wadah areesh (grape leaves) for three  generations. My children rinse their feet under the same tap their grandfather did when he was a young Lebanese man setting up shop in a foreign country. There is history here and you can feel it. My sister in law is coming soon to the cottage next door. She was a baby on this lawn. I am looking forward to seeing her, the woman, back at Amherst Shore, back where she belongs.

While I was there just enjoying the water, thinking about swimming, willing myself to get changed I looked at my email, and there was an email, that really got me thinking, because it posed a question wondering what a certain idea looked like and asked what it might look like as a rug. Suddenly I was lost in thought. Much like my daughter’s intelligent question, it got me thinking , on this hot summer day what does any thought or idea look like?

What does love look like? What does justice look like? What does faith look like? What does courage look like? What does an idea look like?

It is such a powerful tool to think about what any concept or idea looks like as an image.

Suddenly rugs show up in my head. The heat, my goodness, the heat at 35 degrees yet ideas swim in my mind.

For faith must be beautiful. And courage must have depth. Love must be remembered, and justice should be fair.

Ideas are like dreams and dreams can apppear in pictures.

Rugs must be made because beauty matters, ideas matter

and art can make the unseen appear.

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Catherine Bussiere: visiting

I woke up at my mama this morning
A few years ago she moved from the house she owned and had been born in to a bran new condo
It was hard in a sentimental kind of way to see her sell the old house
It was hard to let go

For her it was time

I woke at my mama this morning and you know smells
Each house has a smell
Turns out the smell of the old house seemed to have transferred to the new condo

It must be the books, the house plants, the bedding, the tablecloth

Not only the smell but the feel of the old place transferred to the new place
It must be my mama

I did realize at the time of the move that home was not so much that old house but rather where my mama was

I love the way she decorates
She likes books, artwork, photos of her children and grandchildren, plants
She likes wooden furniture, she likes owls

It feels warm and welcoming

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: sushi time

sometimes one just has to learn how to make things because the things one wants isn’t available
in the food department there is plenty of that

in our cosy little villages and towns
you will find delicious fare
but because of lack of demand
the variety is limited

I love all sorts of food
sushi roll is one of them
it’s pretty, it’s healthy, it’s variation is infinite
plus, you feel good when you eat it

the secret in anything is the quality of your ingredients
aside from that the important thing with sushi is your rice
you will need sticky rice (or sushi rice) and you will need to rinse it well

Here is an adaptation of a recipe found online (I’ll put the link at the bottom)
It will make four sushi rolls.

For the rice:

1 cups sushi rice
1 cups water
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt

Place rice in a bowl and rinse with water several times until water is clear.
Put rice and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed by the rice. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot and heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and fold in the vinegar mixture. Cool to room temperature.

To make the rolls you will need:

1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
4 sheets nori
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded
1 medium size carrot
1 red pepper
2 green onion
12 medium size shrimps
cream cheese (optional)

For serving:

Pickled ginger
Wasabi
Soy sauce

Cut all veggies into matchstick size. Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down. Wet your fingers with water and spread about 1/2 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds. Place veggies and in the center of the sheet. Grab the edge of the nori closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder. Cut each roll into bite size pieces. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

You do not need all the veggies mentioned above and you can replace shrimps with crab meat, fresh salmon, fresh tuna, or have none of it.
The beauty of these is that any of the above is optional except for the rice.
Although just rice might be a little boring

• You don’t like nori, use rice sheets instead (like the ones used for salad rolls)

infinite
I tell you

 

here’s is the link:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/california-roll-recipe/index.html