Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Blue Herons

I was going through my pictures the other day and found these. The first is some cross stitching I did for my mom a few years ago. I used a dyed fabric and some specialty threads, which made it more interesting.

The second is essentially a thread drawing. With Heron as our family name, we often had pictures of herons in our home when I was growing up.

I made this one especially for my mom a few years ago, as well.

I'm proud of these, most especially the thread drawing, since I'm not all that artistic. The cross stitch was simply following the pattern and exchanging some special thread and fabric for the ones listed.

The thread drawing involved a lot of pre-work, lots of sketching and then graphing my final product. I used a picture I'd found to help guide me. So, although it was free-hand, it wasn't right out of my head. The fabric is a painted linen, the thread is silk.

Both pictures hang in my parents' home.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Chocolate Pudding

With no milk in my diet I miss occassional treats like chocolate pudding. I saw this recipe on tv the other day. It's a great use for avocado! It's also a good way to make chocolate pudding without any milk.

Chocolate Pudding
1 avocado
1c cocoa
1c liquid honey

Purée avocado with cocoa and honey. I'm going to put in less honey next time, because this was actually too sweet. To lessen the sweetness, I added more cocoa. My picture shows that I need to stir it up a bit more to mix in the extra cocoa.
This dessert is very thick and rich, so you only need a small serving. Avocados may have healthy fat, but you don't want to have too much.
Who would have thought?  ....avocados!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Hard Cover, Leather Journal

My first attempts at leather hard covered books are ok. It is an interesting process. Along with having difficulty finding leather that I could use, I needed to learn a lot of new techniques. I used a couple of YouTube videos to help me, but I'd defiinitely call these practice books.

I also made boxes for each of the books. I definietly like the pink box better... but like the green leather spined book best.

 The pink book is a tab book. The green spined book has a rounded spine. I like the look of its spine better, but I still need practice.

The pink box has leather wrapped around the edges. I love the paper I found and I may need to get some more since it would be a great cover on a book.

The stitching at the top is called a headband

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Long Weekends

The best part of a long weekend is the ability to sleep in....and to have an afternoon nap. If you're lucky you also get to have a pajama day, or just do whatever it is that makes you happy...because you've got that extra time. If the sun and the weather are just right you can even lay in the hammock.

Too bad we couldn't have a long weekend every weekend.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


A weed is no more than a flower in disguise. ~ James Lowell

Monday, 16 May 2011


"One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider our problem, can change our whole outlook on the world." ~ Dr. Elton Mayo

Friday, 13 May 2011

2 Nights of Elton John

A few posts ago, I mentioned my long time love Elton John's music. This week I was able to attend two Elton John concerts!

Both nights were fantastic. Ever the consumate performer, he played for more than 2 and a half hours. Everyone has a different opinion as to what their favourite thing is. For me, it was everything. I love his jazzy/bluesy improv, his piano playing that is amazing, and of course, the ability to sing along with his music.

signing autographs

I took a few pictures with my cell phone. Here they are!

Oh, and on the second night I was in the second row!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Star Book

Once again I've been busy making books. This post features a star book that I recently made. I am still tinkering with the spine stitching, but I think it turned out well.
The star book is interesting because it looks relatively 'normal' from the outside. Inside something different and fun emerges.

This book has spots inside to put keepsakes. This one was for a friend who was goin going on a European vacation. It's nice to have a spot for a few special keepsakes. You can display this book open, by tying the closures together. Or it can stay closed.

I've been trying a variety of these books. This is the first attempt. I'll post pictures of the others as they are finished.

The cover of the next star book is also here.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers I know...step-mothers, honourary mothers, pet mothers!

Here's a crocus that popped out of an area of our yard that is under construction. I didn't realize it would survive the digging and layer of new dirt, along with some leaves that still need to be cleared out. But, here it is!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

More Rocks

Last post I wrote about my lovely slice of granite with its unique fossil, a gift from my husband.

Clear quartz

I also mentioned my love of rocks of all sorts. Here are some pictures of a few that are in my house.

Rose quarts with a small light inside, clear quartz in the foreground

An amethyst slice

A rope of citrine

A green stone whose name I've forgotten

A lapis lazul heart from my daughter

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Fossils and Rocks

I am no geologist and certainly not any type of scientist, but I love rocks. I like the semi precious ones like rose quartz and amethysts, lapis lazul and lepidolite. Many people believe that there are meanings and healing powers in these stones, as well.

I don't know if this is true, but I do know that they are nature in its purest form. They are formed over billions of years, through a variety of ages. They hold history and for me that is their power.
My husband works a lot with granite. This past Christmas my husband took a piece of broken off granite from a countertop. He cut and polished it and mounted it on a piece of marble. The granite holds history and stories that I can only imagine. It is my newest treasure.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Leslie Beck reveals top foods to fight inflammation

A couple of weeks ago, Leslie Beck talked about inflammation. This is something I fight every day and am always looking for more information about it.

Leslie Beck reveals top foods to fight inflammation
Inflammation is the new buzzword among health experts. Canada AM's registered dietician Leslie explains what it is, what foods cause it, and what foods can actually fight inflammation in the body.

Leslie Beck, Canada AM nutrition expert
Date: Wed. Mar. 30 2011 9:09 AM ET

What exactly do we mean by inflammation?
Inflammation is a normal -- and much needed -- body process. It's the response of your immune system working to heal wounds and fight infection. We wouldn't survive without some inflammation. But when that healing process isn't turned off, problems arise.

When we talk about inflammation and disease we're talking about chronic, low grade, ongoing release of inflammatory chemicals in the body that can lead to serious damage. Inflammation is now recognized as a major determinant of many age-related diseases including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Inflammation is fueled by a number of factors including cigarette smoking, lack of sleep, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal obesity and a poor diet.
What foods cause inflammation?

Steak, sausages, eggs, a loaf of white bread, white bagels, cookies, chocolate bars, a can of regular Coke, a side of French fries.

Most people eat too many foods like these that promote inflammation and not enough foods that suppress it.
In general, a diet high in refined, processed foods and animal products causes the body to generate inflammatory compounds. Too much meat, too much sugar and sweets and too many refined (white) carbohydrates. A steady intake of trans fats, found in many deep fried foods and commercial bakery products, also creates inflammation.

What foods fight inflammation then?
Salmon filet, a can of salmon, kale (for garnish), fish oil capsules (not fish LIVER oil), flax oil, ground flax seed, salba seeds, walnuts and canola oil.

Does fish oil help?
Yes, it does. In fact, there are a number of anti-inflammatory foods that help subdue inflammation in the body by promoting the production of anti-inflammatory immune compounds.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, called DHA and EPA, have strong anti-inflammatory effects in the body. To increase your intake aim to eat 6 to 12 ounces of oily fish per week. The best sources of these omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, herring, anchovy, mackerel and sablefish (e.g. black cod). These fish are also low in mercury.

If you don't like fish, consider taking a fish oil supplement. Look for at least 500 or 600 milligrams of DHA and EPA (combined) per capsule. Liquid fish oils provide more per teaspoon.

But there is one other omega-3 fat that has anti-inflammatory effects; it's called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Women require 1.1 grams of ALA per day and men need 1.6 grams. The best sources include flax oil (1 teaspoon = 2.4 grams ALA), ground flaxseed (1 tablespoon = 1.6 grams), salba seeds (2 tablespoons = 2.5 grams), walnuts (14 halves = 2.5 grams) and canola oil (1 tablespoon = 1.3 grams).

What other foods are anti-inflammatory?
Almonds, cashews, peanuts, blueberries, Brazil nuts, strawberries, cherries, red grapes, oranges x 2, broccoli, red onion, yellow onion, green tea and firm tofu.

You'll also want to add nuts to your diet. The anti-inflammatory properties of nuts are attributed to their polyunsaturated fat, magnesium and antioxidant content. Include one ounce of nuts in your daily diet. Substitute nuts for less healthy snacks like cookies, candy, soft drinks, and refined starchy foods. One ounce of nuts isn't that large -- you'll need to count out 8 Brazil nuts, 18 cashews, 14 walnut halves, 24 almonds or 28 peanuts.

Flavonoid-rich foods also are anti-inflammatory. Flavonoids are natural compounds found in fruit and vegetables. The best sources are berries, cherries, red grapes, apples, citrus fruit, broccoli, kale and onions. Other good sources include green and black tea, dark chocolate, soybeans, edamame and tofu.
Do any supplements help?

Vitamin D supplement, 1000 IU.

Besides a fish oil supplement, vitamin D is a good choice. Among its many roles, vitamin D has anti-inflammatory effects in the body. In fact, research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher levels of inflammation in adults.

Current vitamin D recommendations range from 600 to 2000 IU per day. In the fall and winter, when the sun isn't strong enough to produce vitamin D in the skin, Canadians are advised to supplement with 1000 to 2000 IU vitamin D per day. The safe upper daily limit is 4000 IU per day

Leslie Beck Canada AM

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Music Video with a Book Twist

As mentioned previously, I've been making a lot of books. I don't have the artistic skills to make this sort of book, but it is lovely and fun!

Enjoy the video