Thursday, September 13, 2007


First of all, I'd like to thank my husband... wait a second, who is that gorgeous guy?

Brace yourselves everybody! This is the first official blog for BellaWeave, my newly-emerging, soon-to-be-hugely-successful weaving and spinning company. The ideas have just been pouring in and I can hardly sleep, wowza! I'm going to try to have a table at a few farmers markets before Christmas, depending on how much finished work I can manage. I'm really happy with the two items I'm focusing on now which are handdyed, handspun and handwoven scarves and tablerunners. They are truely unique with lots of personality, now if only I could remember to TAKE PICTURES!

I think I might also start designing some authentic Norseman cloaks with ancient Scandinavian symbols incorporated, it's something I've always wanted to do and the research would be fun. The possibilities are endless, but I still feel somewhat reserved regarding the quality of the final pieces. Of course, I see all the mistakes or things that could be just a little better that no one else would notice. It's just a matter of time before I feel truely confident with my current weaving and spinning style. In fact, its just a matter of time until I start teaching the beginners weaving course in Rocky! It's all set up for early in the new year and I already have one student! Hooray for creative functionings!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Making Mead, a sticky situation

First let me say, it's a fine and lazy day, attempting to type with babe sleeping on lap while converting RAW photos to jpgs (pet peeve of mine in a huge way). OK, I take it all back, babe is awake and son # 1 being very insistant. No longer a lazy day, but it sure sounded nice for those 10 seconds

However, what I really wanted to expound upon was the fine and highly technical art of mead making. As the scientist of the family I am responsible for keeping the cellar stocked with esteemed beverages, and my latest yearnings have directed me toward mead, the nectar of the goddesses, the honey-based wine. After much research and browsing, I finally decided to wing it, cause there seemed to be a whole lot of garbly gook surrounding the subject, and I tend to lean more towards simplicity. I've got the yeast, the water, and the honey, what more do I need?

Weeeeeeeeeell, time, for one thing, cause that's what it took to dissolve 4 lbs of honey in an unmeasured amount of water (some instructions had indicated that warming the water would be helpful, though not necessary, as I discovered, as long as you have time and a good stirring arm). Measuring tools would also come in handy seeing as after I dissolved all the honey I found the specific gravity to be a tad low (1.062) meaning I had too much water and not enough honey (hmmmm, it suddenly occured to me that I should add some sugar). And now, having added the yeast 4 days ago, I have found that there is no fermentation occuring at all, none, zip, zilch. Bad sign. I recall mention of "yeast nutrient" having to be added (what kind of yeast can't survive in a batch of honey I ask, ahhhh, but it is not survival that is the problem but GROWTH!) so being that I am miles and miles away from any kind of fancy "yeast nutrient" supplier, I have decided to wing it (and you're surprised?). What could be more nuritious to a friendly little Blipitylicious farindiciae than a wholesome slice of my soon-to-be-famous sourdough bread? So I have thrown that into the vat, added another packet of yeast (good thing I bought two) and am crossing my fingers that something more evil and vile won't overthrow the whole thing before the yeasts have a chance to work their magic.

My highly technical and elaborate procedures, unfortunately, are not highly reproducable (somewhat like my cooking) therefore, with the optimistic hope that this does turn into something deliciously wonderful, it will be just that much more valuable simply due to the fact that it is induplicateable. What fun!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sourdough Rye Crackers

It's amazing how a huge failure can turn into a grand triumph if you have the patience and flexibility to work with it a bit. In an untimely flash of inspiration yesterday I decided to make a giant batch of bread. First I ground the grain (feeling like a god-damn self-righteous little red hen), then activated the yeast, and with the help of my 2 year old added about twice as much than I wanted. I also added a secret ingredient, yogurt (with active culture), which is supposed to give sourdough a more intricate flavour. Then we made a sponge, which is the correct term for runny bread dough (hold aside a few cups of flour from the dough).

Now being the kitchen goddess that I am, I own one of those fabulous Bosch contraptions that mixes my bread for me (a worthy investment for all you goddesses out there), so I let the sponge "sour" in that for the rest of the afternoon, mixing it down every time the rising action threatened to blow the lid off. This supposedly breaks down the flour into something so wonderfully healthy that I don't even want to think about it. Then I mixed the rest of the flour in and the dreaded failure occured. I just referred to the Bosch machine as fabulous but on a couple of occasions it has been too fabulous and overmixed my bread for me causing the gluten to break up (or so I've been told) and creating a disastrous sticky mess. I had on my hands about 16 cups of glue... after all that work..... aaaaaaarg! I could have killed the little red hen.

What could I do except throw the whole mess away, but I didn't have the heart, and I have learned not to take drastic measures while experiencing a fit of rage (drastic measures are saved for fits of desperation and an overwhelming need to experience change). So I put the lid on and threw it in the fridge overnight.

24 hours later I knew I had to make something out of the mess or I would be discouraged from making bread indefinitely, soooooo, I made crackers, and you know what!!!!! They're delicious! They taste like Swedish hard bread and are chewy and crunchy at the same time, in fact, I would almost classify them as TGFC (too good for company). Of course, it helps to have your own grain mill, which allowed me to grind Triticale (tre-te-CAL-ee), a grain that is a cross between rye and wheat. It also helps to have a wonderful husband, who once ordered up a hand crafted rolling pin the length of my femur, which allowed me to roll 3 long rectangular crackers at a time. Still, the whole process took pretty darn near 3 hours, but has been such a grand discovery that I simply must blog my success.

I have to include that a large part of this inspiration came from which is a fabulous website and may even change my whole outlook on food. Also, a book called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon which I highly recommend to anyone who is serious about what they eat and the downfall of nutritous food in our society.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's Irie

Jah, man, de Reggae music make everything Irie.

It's my ultimate stress-free sounding and I needed it today from sun-up to sun-down. At what point did I know it was going to be a reggae music day, you may ask? Was it when my 2 year old started squeezing the kittens? Or perhaps when my almost 1 decided to scream relentlessly for 2 hours while I tried to clean the van for the first time this year. Was it when my sourdough starter jar (which I have been storing like a golden treasure for the last 2 weeks) inexplicably burst a perfectly round hole in the side spilling my precious, smelly slop over the whole kitchen? Or was it the flax seed grinder that decided to sprout my flaxseed into a mouldy mess instead of storing it nicely?

Regardless, the bread got baked, the van got cleaned, the kids got spanked, and all to the heavenly sounds of reggae music. ahhhhhhh, my hair starts to dread just listening to it, moving and soothing, shuffling and bobbing.

It took less than 2 minutes for my 2 year old to poop on the floor, squish it, step in it, and announce it with pride, but the reggae takes all the sadness away. It took less than one minute for my 2 year old to crumble styrofoam bits all over the living room floor, but the reggae music takes all the sadness away. It took less than one second for the loud toy to wake the sleeping baby from his first nap today, but the reggae music take all the sadness away. That, and writing a sob story email and blog, nothing like venting to take all the sadness away. It's Irie (all right)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Survived Hurricane Rowan

I blame the weather, the clouds are hanging so low and heavy it's enough to give a person a headache just being under them. Then there are the short bursts of rain, which I actually enjoy, the clouds releasing their somberness, like a good cry after a hard day. But I still blame the weather for turning my angelic little Rowan into a screaming water fountain: literally, since this morning he has shed enough tears to fill a small front yard water feature. The ladies at the play group were looking at me with a mixture of compassion and horror while I could see them thinking, "please Lord let that never be me". Rowan was oblivious, evidently caught up in screaming, however Lucas caught on and cowered behind my pant leg. No amount of shaking could loosen him off. I tried to see the humor in it all and was finally able to start a hysterical kind of small laughter (he ha ha ha, he hah ha e-e-e-e-e) after leaving the grocery store where the neighbouring cashier sang I've got a lov-e-ly bunch of coconuts, deedle ee dee to my wretchedly weeping child while I stood in a daze and totally forgot that I had to pack my own groceries. "He must be teething" I think I said that to about 20-30 people throughout the morning blitz, but honestly, I have no clue.

Hurricane survival guide, don't try to be prepared cause theres no way you can be, keep your wits about you cause it aint going to help to hit the deer jumping across the road, bong Tim Tams in the aftermath while trying to ease the knots in your jaw and upper back. If you don't know how to bong a Tim Tam, go to Australia and find out cause it's really worth the trip.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New Projects

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I'm trying to come up with something izzy but my mind is to bogged down with new projects. I've started weaving again at the Guild in Rocky and I just finished some black and white chair covers that still need to be upholstered, I think the antique chairs I made them for will look outstanding with the handwoven look. I'm also trying to spin but having a spinning wheel in the house with young children and cats just doesn't seem to work. Here are some nice hand-spun and hand-dyed wools waiting to be woven into some fanciful thing.

It's so unbelievably refreshing to get outside. I've had the worst case of cabin fever and now my poor house is being sorely neglected but I don't care, I'll tend to that when I'm stuck indoors next winter! My little chickens are 3 weeks old and starting to hold their own but I still worry continually about them. In fact, I must confess, I'm starting to obsess about my animals. Of course, being me, I have psycho-analysed this behaviour to great lengths and I am temporarily concluding that my lack of social life has led to the need to make up good reasons why I "can't" get out much, there-by leading to compulsive animal welfare worry. I've been eagerly anticipating figuring out what kind of chickens I have cause I ordered a "heritage package" and the hatchery just sends whatever they have on hand that day and until they grow real feathers it's hard to tell what they are. It'll still be a few months before I'll be able to tell male from female but I'm desperately trying to determine breeds, though every day I see a new feather and have to reevaluate. Yeah, I know, I'm obsessing, would you believe me if I said it keeps me up at night... I mean, this is me we're talking about.

I've also gone back on a promise I made myself to not do any gardening this year cause it would just burn me out, what with livestock obsessing and all, but unfortunately I did not share this plan with my husband who just went out and bought a bunch of seeds and I can't just let them sit there and DIE! Yes, I planted them (according to the proper moon phase and everything) and now the little shoots are starting to come up, though I have no where to put the little plants cause they will soon be evicted from the bunkhouse where they are now happily growing. We're trying to have the bunkhouse ready to rent May 1st. I guess I feel like I'm obsessing because it's not just that I'm taking care of these little chicks and plants but I'm falling in LOVE with them in a weird sort of way and when one chick was recently threatening to die I think I cried for about an hour, I mean real crying. I just am so worried that everythings going to DIE and it will all be because of ME and my inadequacy! sigh, deep breath, let it go. Ok, I'm ok. So, I can now conclude that obsessions are not healthy behaviours, and neither are internet addictions. I rather think I've said enough for today! Tootle E Too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ah, Luxury...

You know, Calgary is not so bad when you're willing to overlook crazy road names and crazier traffic. In fact, Calgary is wonderful with time spent in the good company of friends and luxury. I just had a fabulous day with Katka and Matthew, sharing snippets of conversation while ooohing and ahhhing over cute babys and marveling at Lucas' ability to rampage through the toys then fall asleep lop-sided in the stroller. How does he do that? And if that was not lovely enough for one day, I was then treated to an exquisitely seared buffalo burger by Dalyce, chef extrodinaire, and now topping it all off, like a great big sprinkle of that pretty stuff on a latte, high-speed internet!!! A day of luxury FOR SURE.

Now I'm in for the one handed blogging as Rowan is occupying the other. Behold the fair goats, Champis (swedish word for a soft drink), and Lisa (named and owned by Mor-mor). Champis is the mother and I got about 3 cups of milk from her in one milking the first day, mmmmmmmh!, and it was delicious! Rowan isn't ready for goats milk yet but he was ready for Mor-mor to feed him. We will miss you Mor-mor, have a good summer in Sweden!We will enjoy Lisa in your absence and think of you often.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Which Rowan

Hi'y'all! I'm currently having a gorgeously peaceful moment all to myself, the kids are in bed and I can't sleep (spring ahead time change, icky). There are so many wonderful apsects to my life right now, I feel so loved by my friends and I'm in love with my most handsome man. I'm getting good vibes from all my animals and I'm looking forward to extending the flock once again having somewhat recovered from the aftermath of the pysco-dog killing spree. On the flip side, living out in the boon-docks certainly has its share of disadvantages, most of them being psycological, but I'm feeling rather sunny, spring is on its way! I'm trying to choose which of these two shots to keep as my framed baby picture and to send away to all the family as the alternative shot to the studio at Wal-Mart disaster. I've already commented on that in past blogs but basically I got a really good shot of Lucas at the studio and a really unfortunate shot of Rowan that I was forced to send out with all the Christmas cards cause I had no other alternative. Soooo, finally, the alternatives!! Tough choice. Oh yeah, and ignore the one of me, I'm just using that for my profile.

Friday, February 16, 2007

February Blues

Nothing quite like a beautiful, cheery amarylis to brighten oneself up on a blue blue February day. You know, the good thing about the blues is that it inspires all the deep dark questions that are usually tucked away in closets and dark corners, like what the heck am I doing with this life and these seldom used talents and what is it that I want out of this life anyway? Well, I sure enjoy some of the looks I get from these kids, but what do I do when child play and baby talk just doesn't cut it anymore?

David certainly knows how to cheer me up, I got a great big rrrrrruby ring for Valentines AND a night out at "Java and Jazz". Some other ways to fend off the blues.... hmmmm, therapy, very strong anti-psycotic drugs (yes, I've done my homework)? No I'm more along the lines of spinning, visiting, nights out, eating Grams food, and feeding the llamas. Also, I'm doing a small scientific experiment on how housework is related to the depressing, mood-thwacking "running to stand still" syndrome. My objective is to reach the nirvanic state of allowing my consciousness to rise above the surrounding mess/chaos and reach the plane of happiness and peace in which my mind is totally unaffected by a sink load or two of smelly dishes, a bathroom, hallway, and bedroom full of dirty laundry, and a million billion tiny crumbs on the floor. Ahhhhh, bliss.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Smiling buddha

Here is wise man Rowan with his drop-dead gorgeous smile, who can resist it? He is the happiest little boy, even when he was sick he managed a smile now and then. It must be cold season cause the boys are either sniffling, coughing, crouping, croaking, or all of the above. It's friday and I survived the week. I feel like I've been training for a marathon, in fact, a marathon would probably be kinder than the long days and sleepless nights that I have been through tending to my sick boys. The "body for life" man says to "transform adversity into energy", and all week long I've been thinking that's possible for everyone BUT the mother of small children. However, having experience the first somewhat normal day of the week, I can say that all this adversity of the past few days has made "normal" seem a whole lot more bearable. That's a positive thing, right? Well, considering that "normal" was starting to feel a little unbearable before, I can now say that something good has indeed come out of a week long adventure with high fevers and crying crablettes. "When you overcome resistance you create the power to continually reach higher"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winter fun

Oh yeah, it's been awhile since I last posted anything but that's what the holiday season is all about, being busy with everything else, and letting most other things slack. So now it's catch-up time and hopefully time to get back into old routines, like blogging, and reading books, and taking time out for ME (is that allowed?). We had some fun tobogganning but it was a little intense cause our usual tobogganning hill had a bunch of trees that had fallen on it so we had to use the other side of the hill that was crazy steep, I mean triple black diamond steep. Lots of fun going down and LOTS of work getting back up. I even took little Lucas down twice (with full brakes on but it was still pretty fast and I was scared my leg was going to get broken). Santa, of course, was right on time and there was no coal in the stockings of these little boys. They weren't quite sure what to make of the jolly old elf but at least there was no crying, only a few ponderous glances. Rowan makes the cutest little reindeer around but he really doesn't like to smile for the camera and I'm still trying to catch one of his gleaming grins that he is becoming famous for.

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