Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Crocheted Baby Mandake

Crocheted baby Mandrake

I confess, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. When I saw this pattern for a a baby mandrake on Ravelry, I had to buy it.  

I didn't use a strong enough yarn to do the facial features and they lost some of their definition, but I"m happy with the results nonetheless.

He looks angry, but they do get angry and scream when they're being repotted.  Guess I'd better get some earmuffs ;-0.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Home made dog treats...for birds, tooo!

Baking peanut butter dog cookies

 My Mom has been baking Christmas cookies all week long, and my dogs have been pestering her every chance they get.  She gave them cookies, but we were concerned about the amount of fat and sugar the dogs were eating. 

I found a cool recipe on food.com, for peanut butter cookies for dogs . It's a simple recipe, with only 4 ingredients: peanut butter, flour, baking powder, and milk.  There is no sugar, but I did add 1 tbsp of honey.  The dogs patiently waited while the cookies baked. Even though the cookies smelled great in the oven, the dogs were patient.

Mac and Ben waiting for their cookies

Still waiting

Dog cookies cooling down
 Then they waited more while they cooled down. 

I used a fork to indent the cookies, like real peanut butter cookies, but the baking powder made them rise into little balls rather than the flat cookies I was going for.  The animals didn't seem to mind.
Smokey enjoying her peanut butter cookie
 Smokey, my African Grey, loved her cookie.  She loves peanuts so I thought she might enjoy a cookie.  She grabbed it out of my hand.  Next time I'll use a different recipe; one that calls for water instead of milk, so they'll be healthier for her. 

 Mac gulped down his cookies so fast I couldn't get a photo of him eating.  You can't really tell but he does  have one in his mouth in the photo above, lol.
 Benji loved them too, and I loved that they were soft enough for his little teeth to chew.  He's 15 years old, and chewing is hard for him.  He can't eat milkbone treats anymore.
Here's Mac looking depressed because I told him 3 cookies were enough.  I folded shortly after this photo and gave each dog one more cookie.

The recipe made 60 nice sized cookies.  They're healthy treats, filled with protein, and now the dogs can have their own Christmas cookies when we have ours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Drive with Dogs

Hello friends.  I've been sick for over 2 months, with asthma and some sort of infection, but I'm starting to feel better and was able to take my dogs for a drive the other day to see the beautiful fall leaves.

Gros Cap foliage

Gros Cap

Clouds over Gros Cap

Here's Mac, looking out the window.  Gros Cap is pretty but very hilly and my asthma was still too bad to tackle much walking, let alone hills, so we went for another drive to Mark's Bay, a normally secluded little conservation area.

The dogs were very happy to go for another car ride.  Mac is the big black standard poodle, and Ben is the little white toy poodle :-).

Little Ben and Big Mac

Mark's Bay

Mark's Bay was lovely and calm, with the clouds reflecting in the water.  This is my favorite shot (above).
 Here's Benji looking out over Mark's Bay.  Mac's hips were giving him trouble so he wanted to go back in the truck after he went pee.

Mark's Bay

Little plane over Mark's Bay
In this last photo, you can see (if you squint) a tiny little plane in the sky above the lake. It was one of those old fashioned planes; very cool to see.

I was very happy that I was able to finally get out of the house to enjoy nature, as it snowed later in the day. It didn't last, but it caused many of the pretty leaves to fall.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Crocheted Blue Budgie Bird

Crocheted blue budgie bird

I crocheted a friend for my cockatiel, Noel.   It's a cute little (big) blue budgie.  Noel was very impressed with this stuffy, lol.

I wanted to add more photos, but blogger won't let me.  I've been having trouble with the photo uploader all day.  I hope they'll fix it soon.

I found the pattern on Ravelry; it's called Budgerigars.  It's a cute pattern that works up in 4 pieces; the head and body are one piece, the tail is one piece, and the wings are 1 piece each.  I used pipe cleaners for the feet.

The pattern as written would make a very big bird, as it's all double crochet.  For my bird, I followed the pattern but did single crochet every place that called for double crochet.

My birthday, mall power outages, Father's Day, and mars craters, lol.

 I turned 51 on the 19th of June.  I had a quiet birthday with my immediate family.  We went out for supper and then back home for cake and fruit. 
Me and Dad
Here's Dad and I posing with the cake. The huge red candle is a family tradition; it's been used in lieu of birthday candles for decades, lol.

Between my birthday and Father's day, we ate out a LOT, lol.

Dad on Father's Day

The day before my birthday, my friend Albert and I decided to go for dinner and a movie.  We went to JK Sakura for all you can eat Japanese, Thai, and Sushi.  I do not like sushi but the Japanese and Thai food was delicious.  My favorite was the shrimp tempura, scallops, mango chicken, and General Tao's chicken.  There were other things that were yummy too but I can't remember the names of the food, lol.

The movie was a bust, because as soon as we tried to buy our tickets, the power in the entire mall went out.  Within minutes all of the cage doors came slamming down so we had to boot it to the hallway, lol. 
Lights out, power outage at mall
The emergency lights came on, and the skylights provided plenty of sunshine.
Power outage in mall
Almost all of the shoppers went  to the food court to sit down and wait for the power to come back on, but some just sat in the halls, lol.  Albert and I waited for about 40 minutes before we left.  We ended up going to the movie on Sunday.  We saw Jurassic World in 3D.  It was great, but man, the people who run Jurassic Park just never learn, do they, lol?

Food court during power outage
So, Albert and I went out for Japanese and Thai on Thursday.  My parents took me to my favorite Italian Restaurant on Friday.  I took my parents out for Wings on Saturday.  On Sunday I made my dad breakfast (bacon, eggs, tomato, toast) and then they left to take my uncle to Sudbury.  I bought my Dad various presents, fishing lures, coffee for his Keurig Machine, fishing hats, etc., but I think this was his favorite gift:
Certificate of Mars Crater Named for my Dad
I named a crater on Mars in honor of my Dad.  As you can see, I named it "Eric the Great Schopp".  When my Dad saw the crater online, he asked why I chose such a small crater. I assured him it was much larger than it looks like on the map, lol.  He's a big space fan so he was tickled by the gift. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor

I love my nutribullet so much that I decided to try juicing next.  The nutribullet is wonderful, but sometimes i want a juice rather than a smoothie. 

It was my birthday on the 19th, and my parents gave me money in lieu of a gift and told me to buy whatever I wanted.  I chose this juicer, by Hamilton Beach.

I researched before buying, and it had the best ratings out of the lower cost juicers...5 stars at best buy, and 4.2stars on Amazon.  Which is pretty good considering over 900 people rated it there.

I watched Joe Cross's documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix, and it really made me want to try a juice fast.  I don't think I could do a 60 day fast like Joe did, but I'd like to try the 3 or 5 day fast.  I bought a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies and some mason jars, and made 4 different juices tonight.

My new juicer

I tried carrot juice first, because I like carrot juice but don't like it in the nutribullet.  I also don't like it when it's too thick.  I was really impressed with my new juicer; that's three carrots worth of juice in the photo above; impressive, and  big improvement over the old juicer I had back in the 1980's.  6 carrots made a big glass of juice, and it was delicious!  So sweet and good!

For my next juice, I tried some cantaloup and pineapple that I had already cut up in the fridge; left over from my birthday dinner.  Oh, my gosh; it was so yummy!  That little bit of fruit made half a mason jar full of juice, and it was so good I drank it right down.

My camera died, but I also experimented with Joe Cross's Mean Green Recipe, which I halved because I didn't want two servings. It's basically cucumber, celery, kale, lemon (I used lime), and ginger.  It was very good right out of the juicer, but I read that it tastes better cold so I put it in the fridge or an hour and I liked it a lot better right out of the juicer.  It tastes much stronger to me now.

I tried a beet based juice from a recipe I found on Joe's website. It's called Anti Aging Beet Grape Juice, and it's got a nice sweet, beet-y flavor.  I like it, or I did fresh out of the juicer.  It's in the fridge cooling and I"m hoping the taste didn't change too much.

I made another jar of juice similar to the Mean Green, but minus the ginger, with the addition of a tomato, fresh basil, and a carrot.  It tastes a lot nicer than the mean green.

I couldn't take any more photos because my camera battery lost the charge, but if you imagine a row of mason jars holding orange, green, and a pinky-purple juice lining my fridge shelf, you'll have an idea of what I ended up with.

I think it's a great way to get nutrients I wouldn't usually eat into my system.
So far though, I'm not convinced that leafy greens belong in smoothies or juices.  I much prefer them in salads :-).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Baked Rapa (rapini)

Garden full of rapa greens
I have been dying to try baked Kale chips, but I forgot to buy Kale today!  My truck won't start and my neighbor was nice enough to take me shopping, and I forgot.  I have no way to get back to the store for Kale, however, I do have a garden full of what we call Rapa, and what I think other people call Rapini.  I ran out and picked some.

Rapa Greens
Washed it.  Dryed it.  Put it on a pizza pan, spritzed it with olive oil spray, and put it in the oven at 200 for 10 minutes.

Baked Rapa
There it is in the oven, crispy and ready.
Baked Rapa
Here it is in the bowl. I sprinkled it with a bit of salt, bit into one...and the verdict:

Yummy but insubstantial.  It's like biting into a fall leaf; a paper thin dry leaf; the kind that crumbles into pieces when you touch it.  Now, I've never actually bitten into a fall leaf, so I'm guessing here,lol.  The taste was surprisingly good, but there was hardly any chew factor.  I picked big leaves but I should have picked smaller ones because fitting the entire rapa leaf into my mouth would have been easier and neater, lol. 

I did enjoy them; they were yummy and a healthy substitute for chips, but I wanted something more substantial, more there.  I haven't yet tried Kale chips so for all I know they're like bites of nothing too.  I would definitely eat these Rapa chips again because they were so tasty, but I'd have to make a lot more than two pans full because they are definitely not filling, lol.  Next time I think I"ll try sprinkling them with some garlic and parmesan cheese.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Plastic Canvas Windmill in Memory of my Dear Aunt Cobie

Plastic Canvas Windmill

I stitched up this sweet plastic canvas windmill in memory of my dear aunt Cobie, who passed away after a year long battle with brain cancer.  I found the kit on ebay only 2 weeks before she passed, and it only arrived in the mail a few days before she died, so I couldn't stitch fast enough to finish it before she was gone.  I gave it to her husband, my Uncle Buck, and he loves it.  There's a music box built in but unfortunately the music box doesn't always work.
Me and my aunt Cobie
That's me in the lilac top, in the photo above,  with my aunt Co; on my birthday a few years ago.  She was already sick at last year's birthday.
Me, David, and Cobie
In the above photo we're at a family wedding. 
My beautiful aunt Cobie
She was the kindest, sweetest woman I've ever known; beautiful on the inside and out.

Geraldine, Me, Jess, Co, and Mom
Everyone loved her, and she is greatly missed.

Mom, me, and Cobie

Smokey the African Grey loves Lilacs

Smokey and the lilacs
Smokey gets a special treat this time of year; fresh cut lilacs.  She absolutely loves shredding them, along with the branches, and they are a wonderful bird safe treat for her.

Smokey and lilacs
Here she is enjoying her fragrant bounty.
Smokey the bird
And here she is looking at me through her rings.  She's such a smart, clever girl.