Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Autumn of Happy Beading!

 As we close out on the first official day of autumn, I wanted to share some of what I have been working on for DarlingDilemma.  Things happen fast in the crafting world, one always has to be ready for the next leap, the next season & the next holiday.  Those of us who create, always have to think ahead & try to interpret what you the buyers, might want next (and we have to think of it before you!).

ICY BLUE on Etsy now!
 Sometimes (usually) I just make what I want to make, hope someone will love it & it all works out.  When fall was approaching I lucked out because my current colour obsession happened to be the same as everyone else's! Purple!
Elderberry, necklace & earring set

Pretty Girls Make Graves available on etsy

And of course, made obvious by this post, my other favorite thing is my big time SCORE of various beads of awesome & epic proportions! Mainly all the great skull beads, of dyed turquoise & some tiny acrylic that I have collected. With Halloween & October coming I figured I could finally enjoy them & let the rest of the world get a little freaky too!

DYING ROSE, found on etsy
 I love love love photography my pieces, showing them here gives them a life of their own.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Brunswicker are the BEST

They are, they really really are.
Since moving here almost two years ago I have been trying to re find myself, start over, or find my place in the world. 
I have a place here now, in New Brunswick.
I teach art to children.  I work in an after school program designed for grades 3 to 5 ( showing them cartooning, watercolour & drawing skills.  I travel to schools all over New Brunswick with Jostens selling grad rings, meeting teenagers & seeing the beautiful province I live in.
And I make jewelry.
I spend a majority of my time at home, crafting, designing, photography & promoting my DarlingDilemma creations.

Normally something that is that much work, quickly becomes a hassle & a lot less fun, but with DarlingDilemma... well the fun never stops!

Recent custom order by Darling Dilemma

I love doing it all & can honestly say I am addicted! To all of it!  I love the making & creating, seeing a vision become realized (especially with custom orders) but I also love all the steps that lead up to it & the ones that make it happen.

One of the reasons I have been feeling particularly fond of my fellow New Brunswickers (besides the fact that living here lets me do what I do...) is the creative community.  Moving here from Ontario, specifically, near Toronto area, I know all about how inclusive the art world can be.  Attending art school, I also know all about art snobs*.  So to find myself in a place, so far removed from that attitude is amazing! and freeing!

Photography by PoedyPencilPrincess

Once I joined the sellers world of etsy I decided to seek out other new Brunswick etsy sellers & there were lots! We have formed a group which we have taken to calling NewBEST (New Brunswick Etsy Street Team).  It is a group of extremely talented artists & crafts people all working together to share information, promote & sell. I wanted to share some of what they do, with you.

Jewelry by uglyart
earrings by InspiredByOnline

Photography by soulfuse

Keyper Keychain by MomsCrafts4U

To search for NewBEST shops or New Brunswick artists, enter 'New Brunswick' into your etsy search engine!!

*Art snobs are the elitist crowd who define art only by the textbook definition.  They also appreciate habitual dissing of craft & all things related.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Whimscal Waldorf Moments

So something I haven't mentioned before is that I used to be a Waldorf mom. ( ) A hardcore, granola-eating, Birkenstock-wearing, vegetarian hippy mama.

Okay so I'm still half of that, but I am not still a Waldorf mom.
Another day I will tell you about how I fell in love with Waldorf education. I might even tell you about various glorious moments of being a Waldorf mom.  Today though, I just miss it.

When my son was finishing Kindergarten (or 'The Rainbow Garden' as our school called it) the school's financial situation became dire and our time there came to an end.  Phoenix & I had found a warm comfy haven there when he was still just a tiny baby, when I joined a Mom & Baby group.  We spent two and a half years, every Thursday, spending time with a wonderful group of Mamas & their little ones.  Evelyn & Annalyn baked for us, held my child in comfort & even taught me to knit & sew...

When I decided to go back to school, going to college full time, I knew that my darling three year old would be as happy & well cared for in their nursery, as he would have at home with Grandma or me.  The school really was our extended family.

But Phoenix, after years in Waldorf & one year of homeschooling, is now in public school - in grade 6!  He has passed the days of fairies & gnomes, rock collections & cherishing his first successful knitting.

I miss the beauty.  You really will never find any school as beautiful as a Waldorf school.

Through the magical world of Etsy, everyone can find the beautiful nature of the Waldorf world, for themselves, their children & their homes.  I wanted to share some of the wonder I have found...

Gnome necklace from birdsoforegon

Waldorf dolls by ruprecht

Needle felted village by McBrideHouse

Star Lantern by greenbamboodesigns

Ole! Mexican Casserole

In this episode, Darling Dilemma finds herself sharing another recipe & going into shock about it!

Mexican casserole is my son's other favorite meal, and who could blame him? It is pretty much just very fancy nachos!  He just rolled his eyes at me & asked if I was 'seriously blogging about Mexican casserole,' but some friends have requested the recipe (maybe just to tease me & get to me write another recipe blog??)!

Mexican Casserole (vegetarian)

  • Charras corn tortillas (these are basically large, flat, baked nacho chips)
  • refried beans
  • chili *optional + if you aren't vegetarian, you could always add meat in here
  • taco sauce or salsa (not necessary but I like it)
  • cheddar cheese
  • broccoli
  • red peppers  *feel free to add whatever other veggies you want... onions, mushrooms.. whatever you have or are in the mood for
Casserole dish * I find a deep one works great, unfortunately mine broke so I am using my lasagna one.  Works well too, I just like a deeper serving with more layers... just a preference.
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. I start by putting a thin coating of sauce or salsa. This casserole (as most), tends to stick to the bottom of the pan & I find a little sauce down there helps it lift out a bit easier
  3. spread a layer of refriend beans onto the large chips & lay over the bottom of the dish.  You can be messy, sloppy, hurried.. its all going to be okay. You will often find that a few/many/lots of the large chips are broken, this doesn't really matter as I usually smoosh the whole casserole down to make it fit in the dish... hehe
  4. toss some of those veggies on top of the layer... then cover lightly in grated cheese.
  5. repeat layers.  I either alternate layers of refriend beans, with layers of the chili, or I add a little chili to each layer *if you want salsa... throw some on whenever you want. As much, or as little as you like.  I'm easy with the rules.
  6. top layer - I usually skip beans or chili off the top layer & just load it up with the veggies & cheese, like nachos!
  7. bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. **In the vegetarian version, basically you just want the cheese to melt & the beans to heat... if you are adding meat to this, you may have to adjust how long it cooks
  8. For the last 5 minutes I like to turn the oven to broil so the top layer of cheese gets really browned, bubbly & crispy
  9. Its ready!! I like to serve with a salad & a side of my homemade salsa (shoot.. did I just set myself for another recipe blog???)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Girl Least Likely To Post a Recipe

Yup. Me.
I really am, or rather, really thought I was, very unlikely to post a recipe.  It is not that I don't like recipe posting... it is that I don't like cooking. 
I'm not that good at it.  I don't like how it completely destroys any resemblance to clean I had going on in the kitchen, I don't like the amount of dirty dishes it creates & I definitely don't like going to the grocery store, which I inevitably have to do either before, or after, cooking.
I can cook. I mean I have a few good healthy things I can make & my son loves.  And my husband has a couple things he can make that we love (notice I left out the healthy part there), and so we defiantly do okay in the meals department, but I am still least likely to post a recipe.... except... I am about to.
Bean Balls.
Everyone asks what they are & once I tell them, they want to try them/make them/invite themselves over for some. I figure if I post the recipe once, I can refer everyone here the next time I make them & the questions rise once again.
So what are they? I can tell you, they are not a meatball replacement for vegetarians, like many think.  They are a high protein, plenty of fibre, ball of deliciousness.  They are my son's favorite thing for dinner (and also his favorite thing to take cold the next day in his lunch).  I really can't think of an equivalent for a carnivore... unless it is a burger & the bun is included inside the patty.
Also they should probably be renamed Tofu Balls, since my mother decided to change my aunt's recipe and use tofu instead of the soaked soy beans... but since kids will never eat something called Tofu Balls, lets stick to Bean Balls.

Bean Balls
Basically it is 3 equal parts of

  • firm or extra firm tofu pureed in food processor (I have based this recipe on 1 package of tofu and it makes approx. 24 balls)
  • a veg mix of celery, carrot, onion & beet (usually more beet & carrot) finely chopped in the food processor (too finely chopped & they lack texture... but you can experiment)
  • bread crumbs. I like to use my own from spelt bread or kamut... but any kind is fine
Mix all 3 in a large bowl with wooden spoon.
Add LOTS of sage, thyme, and LOTS Worcestershire sauce, for flavouring(the last time I made these I didn't use nearly enough of the sauce, and well they were still nice & healthy, they lacked something).

Lastly, add approx. 1.5 cups of cheddar cheese &
2 eggs (for binding)

My mom says bake at 375 for 45minutes, but she has a kick ass convection oven... it is usually more like 45 minutes at 400 or 425, and I like to flip them part way.

This is by no means an exact recipe... I find cooking at 400 for 60 min gives me a crunchier ball which my guys like. They also like more cheese, but my mother likes less... If I am low on beets, I make up with carrots... so try out variations, they tend to still work out every time!
So if you make these - let me know! I want to know how yours turned out, if you experimented & what you thought!

*disclaimer - this recipe isn't even close to being mine, made by me at all, or even altered to be made better, by me*

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Monday's Child (by Thursday)

Okay so on Tuesday it was the beginning of middle school, Wednesday it was taking the bus & walking home alone & today.... first school dance?!?!??!
Come on!              
*imagine me saying this out loud with a lot of emphasis*

My husband said I should chaperone. Of course he said it with a teasing/mocking/hahaha tone.  I considered it, at least for a moment.

They didn't ask for any chaperones. 
Still, I wouldn't. Not really.  I honestly DO want him to be his own person & I love watching him grow into it, but at the same time I miss every single step he has taken. (except for the 3 months he stopped sleeping when he was about 3...)
I love watching the expressions on his face now, that show a different kind of knowledge than they did last year or the year before. I enjoy seeing his bravery in the face of new & his confidence when meeting people.  I especially love the last ones, as it was something I never had.
So why does letting him stay home to read while I get groceries feel like... letting go? I mean it feels like an actual, physical, letting go of something almost tactile!

But I take pure joy from the times when he slips back into childlike behaviour.  When he pleads for me to snuggle him a moment longer when I tuck him in. Or when he locks his arms & legs around me in the pool.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Middle School (or what I know from Degrassi)

My son started middle school, which is a whole new ball game for me/us in many ways. 

Firstly, middle school.  I am originally from Central Ontario and we don't have middle school or junior high.  Toronto does of course, at least they used to (Degrassi Junior High??) but as those of us who lived outside of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) like to remind everyone, there is more to Ontario than Toronto.  All I know about Junior High/Middle School, I learnt from Degrassi, and based on that my son's future looks grim...unless I quickly change his nickname to Snake. *

So the second adjustment is that my son has started French Immersion!  I am excited for him that he will get to learn a second language in a way that I never could & I hope it opens doors for his future.  My brother & my husband both took french immersion in school, and turned out far better than I did...
I am also crazy nervous as I predict hours of frustration (maybe more on my part) with my inability to help him with homework.

So the first day of school has come & gone.  We all recognize that first day as the closing to our summer; end of the holidays, fun and ultimately the finale of good weather - even those of us who don't have school aged children!  It seems irrelevant to our psyches that the official last day of summer falls on September 21st, or that it was hot enough today to sweat, wear shorts & swim in a pool.

*Maybe the fact that his name is Phoenix will help him prevail. Obviously boys with animal type names fair better than those named Wheels.