Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. My husband and I are spending a lovely day together enjoying the absolutely, positively, perfectly wonderful autumn weather while doing the things we enjoy most. That is being outdoors with our dogs, my horse and Paul even took a motorcycle ride.

Early this morning we set off for the forest to give Noah, Gabriel and Paige, our Newfoundland dogs, a fun romp off leash.
Noah is my 7 month old Newfoundland puppy. He's black and stands behind Gabriel, my 3 1/2 year old Landseer Newfoundland. Noah still has a lot of growing to do and we feel certain he'll be a lot bigger than his brother and sister since he's still a puppy.
Above is Paige, my sweet Landseer girl.
Noah and Gabriel (above) set off to enjoy the scents of the fields and forest.
Noah has the longest tongue of any Newf I've ever owned. Of course he'd been exercising and was tired when I took the photo but that tongue of his is always hanging out one side or the other of his mouth.

After we returned home from our walk with the dogs, I fixed us a nice breakfast and then began preparing the turkey to be stuffed and put in the oven. Once I had all of the cooking preparation finished and cleaned up the kitchen, I went out to the barn to visit my sweet Gypsy mare.
As soon as Gypsy saw me walking through the field toward her she stopped grazing and came right to me.
Gypsy is the sweetest, most wonderful mare I could ever dream of. She is such a sweetheart and I love her to bits.

This is just a photo of the milkweed pods bursting and blowing the 'fairies' through the air. They were so pretty.

Well, it is now almost dinner time for a Thanksgiving dinner. The aroma of the turkey roasting smells WONDERFUL! The potatoes are cooking and I am trying out The Pioneer Woman's, cornbread and apple and herb stuffing. It looks delicious and I think if it tastes as good as it looks and smells it will become our new traditional stuffing (dressing). I also made a Pumpkin Cheesecake for dessert in lieu of the traditional pumpkin pie.

Ooohhhh I'm hungry so I'm going to post this and set the table and enjoy the rest of this good Thanksgiving day with my husband.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Needle Felted Pumpkin

I'm crazy for pumpkins! I love to eat pumpkin and have been baking up quite a storm in preparation for Thanksgiving, which here in Canada, is Monday 11 October. I've made Pumpkin Cheesecake (YUMMMMMMY!!), Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin Cookies and for dinner tonight I plan to make my famous Pumpkin Soup. Yes! I'm crazy for pumpkins.

But not only do I like to eat foods made with pumpkin I also like to make and collect pumpkin ornaments and decorations. That brings me to todays SUPER FAST 10 MINUTE NEEDLE FELTED PUMPKIN. This little cutie makes a super cute table decoration or a table place setting favor. You can make them in any size your heart desires so a variety of sizes and shapes are easily crafted in just minutes.

So simple and so cute. Here is a top view. The total time to make from start to finish is 10 minutes.
The supplies are simple as well. You'll need wool batting for the pumpkin center. Then use a variety of colors of wool roving for your pumpkin, leaf and stem. I used a slightly different color of orange for the lines of the pumpkin but you could easily use embroidery floss, I think. You will need a super sharp felting needle and a foam mat to work on. The only caution when felting is BE CAREFUL! I find felting very relaxing and have to remember not to forget that I'm punching with a very sharp needle! YIKES!
Form the wool batting into a ball or shape that you'd like your pumpkin to be. Take very thin pieces of the orange roving and begin felting with the needle. The punch, punch, punch process goes very quickly. If you see thin spots you can easily fill in with small pieces of roving. Next I added my lines to the pumpkin with a slightly different color of wool and twisted it first into very thin lines. Punch it into place spacing the lines in thirds and divide the thirds again. Now for the leaf, pinch off a small piece of green wool and shape it into a leaf shape. I felted it flat first and then attached it to my pumpkin. Finally you are ready for the stem and again, pinch off a very small piece of brown/rust colored wool and shape into a stem and felt it to the top of the pumpkin.

I'm considering making a cornucopia of various fruits and vegetables using this simple needle felted technique. Imagine apples, carrots, pears, beans (yes beans! why not?) and every imaginable fruit and vegetable.

I did not create the video (below) but it is a great example of the process to make these felted pumpkins:

Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians on Monday (tomorrow).


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two new book reviews

Recently I purchased an e-Reader. Specifically, the Kobo. I am thoroughly enjoying it and decided that perhaps once a month I'd review books I've read recently. I love learning what others enjoy reading as well, so I hope that if you are an avid reader of any genre of literature you'll share your thoughts as well as books you've read and recommend.

The first book I want to share is ROOM, by Emma Donoghue.

Goodreads synopsis: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

My thoughts: ROOM is an 11' X 11' world to 5 year old Jack. The story is told through Jack's eyes and his vision of what the world is knowing no other world than this ROOM in which he and his Ma are confined. Jack takes the reader into the world within ROOM and then his discovery of the world outside the door.

I really had my doubts that this story would be as moving, insightful and troubling as it was. I'm so glad I decided to read it despite some previous doubts. How could a 5 year old's narrative hold the reader's interest? Well, most definitely held mine.

I highly recommend this book! Here is a video book-trailer of ROOM:

The second book I'm eager to share is A DOG'S PURPOSE by w. Bruce Cameron.
Goodreads synopsis: This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here? Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose? Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This beautifully crafted novel teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on Earth is born with a purpose.

My thoughts: If you love or have ever loved a dog, this book is a must read for you. I'm not a fast reader but I did read this in one day. I couldn't put it down. Why? Because it is unlike any other dog story you'll read. It touched my heart. Told from the dog's perspective and taking you through the "what if" a dog lives many lives the reader follows this dog's journey to discover what his/her purpose is. Heartwarming, funny and emotionally charged as well, I highly recommend this book to people who love dogs. I know I'll read this many times, I loved it that much!

A video Book-trailer of A Dog's Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron