Friday, May 27, 2011

Craft Show Saturday May 28

Tomorrow I will be in Pickering for the annual Art on the Esplanade Artfest.

This is a fabulous outdoor event at Esplanade Park in Pickering (right near the Pickering Town Center- at Brock Road and the 401).

11am - 5pm, rain or shine!

There is an outdoor food court, art exhibits, hands-on art projects for the kids, live musical performances, art activities and 100 arts and crafts vendors! Find out more here.
Jewelery, paintings, wood carvings, fashion, more paintings and artists and me!

I also have 3 new items I am debuting at tomorrow's craft show (photos forthcoming).
A brand new bubblegum and rubber duck soap toy for the kids, a whipped Shea and Coffee body butter and, by popular demand, an exfoliating soap with loofah in it!

Friday Dance Break is being hopelessly romantic...

...with John Mayer (featuring Taylor Swift) from the 2009 album Battle Studies.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Dance Break + the end of the world?

So, apparently the world is going to end tomorrow.
While, I head out to buy supplies for the coming zombiepocalypse I give you three dance break videos!

We can dance if we want to.....

And these two guys are both phenomenally talented and, just, well, really talented.
Also, you can buy this song in iTunes. How awesome is that?

Enjoy the long weekend and the end of the world!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Pizza!

So, last week I decided to make pizza for dinner. And not just any kind of pizza. The Real™ Homemade kind. The true Italian kind.
It was going to be an adventure.

I had already bought my 00 flour in preparation. 00 flour refers to how finely milled the flour is. In Italy there are three types of flour 1, 0 and 00, referring to how finely ground it is.
For a good pizza dough you want the finest you can find, this will make the dough easier to work with. (There are different types of Italian 00 flour, specialty pizza flour and regular 00 flour - either will work for a pizza dough).
If you don't have any Italian stores nearby a combination of general purpose flour and high-quality bread flour will work.

Under the recommendation of my awesome friend, who is also an amazing cook, I was going to use Mark Bittman's pizza dough recipe, from How to Cook Anything - it's very simple and only has 5 ingredients in it.

Of, course, as I was about to start making the dough I realized I had no idea what kind of yeast to use - the recipe calls for instant yeast, but the two I had in the cupboard has extra words on them! What to do!
So, I called my aforementioned awesome friend and left a frantic message, which went something like this: "Oh my gawd! You HAVE to be home! I have a yeast-related baking questions and I don't know who else to call! CALLLLLL me!"

Luckily, she returned my call in record time and explained the difference between the various yeasts and which one I needed to use.
Turns out I did have instant yeast, only it was called "quick-rise," which is how the confusion arose.
Apparently you can also tell the difference between yeasts by looking at the size of the yeast granules. The smaller granules are instant yeast, and the larger granules are regular yeast (the kind you need to add sugar to and allow to feed and rise).

Well, I tossed all the ingredients in the food processor- and voila! Dough! And it worked! Woo!
Step one complete.
Pizza dough, awaiting rising.

After waiting about an hour for the dough to rise it was time to roll it out. Now, I am the kind of person that loves to bake, but tends to have problems with doughs and rolling pins. Not so with this! It was s'wonderful, s'marvellous dough!
Whether this ease of rolling was due to the type of flour I used, the perfection of the recipe, or a combination of both I don't know - but suffice it to say - this was the easiest dough I've ever worked with.

A mostly round rolled out pizza dough.

The dough recipe I made was enough for 3 good sized pizzas (either large quarters, or 6 slices).
We made three different ones and had an entire pizza leftover!
Pizza one was a classic margarita with tomato sauce, slices of mozzarella, Parmesan, fresh basil, and more mozzarella.
The basil and mozzarella pizza.
Pizza two was an organic, free-range spicy pepperoni pizza, and pizza three was made with artichoke hearts, olives and capers.
They were all delicious.

Verdict: Not as hard to make as you would think, but definitely messy. Also, fun. A great dinner!
The mess my kitchen counter was in while making this!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden Update...

Well, it's almost time (not really, but almost) to plant the rest of my planned veggies in the garden, but in the meantime my garlic and yellow onions have started to sprout!

Over the Victoria Day weekend I'll be planting tomatoes, beans, peas, zucchini, cucumbers and lots of herbs!

It'll be fab-u-lous!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Dance Break- Take me Home tonight!

It's 1986. You've got a synth, a saxophone and Ronnie Spector...

I give you- Eddie Money with Take Me Home Tonight

Long Live the 80's ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Craft Show

Aside from my two great shows this coming weekend, I will also be in Stratford on Saturday May 14 for the Linc Family Festival.

This is a great show at the Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Road, in Stratford, ON- 10am- 3pm.

There will be pony rides, mini-golf, face-painting, great vendors and information booths and more.
I hope to see you there for a great day of family fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Upcoming Shows, Making Whipped Butters and Failed Batches

I have two great shows coming up in the next few days, so I'm scrambling to make some more product (I didn't expect to sell out of stuff this past weekend!).

Friday May 6th I will be at the Central Eglinton Community Center in Toronto for the Spring Bazaar
10am- 2pm
 160 Eglinton Ave. East (at Yonge Street and Eglinton).
Free Admission- with lots of great vendors selling arts & crafts, baby quilts, bookmarks, charms, gifts, greeting cards, jewelry, knitted items, keychains, tote bags, artwork, pottery and more!

Saturday May 7th I will be in Oshawa for a show benefiting the Durham Humane Society
Crafts, vendors, a yard sale, BBQ and a tarot card reader! It should be a fun day.
Storie Park Club House
10 Mill Street
8am- 2pm

Don't forget to buy Mom a mother's day gift and come on out!

I just finished whipping up some whipped shea butter - it doesn't matter what time of year it is, this is a product that always sells well. Why? Because it's fabulous for skin! Just a pure whipped shea with added coconut oil and some lime essential oil.
There is nothing bad in this product, and it's fabulous for skin and smells amazing to boot - and, yes, it does look like whipped cream!

And what about failed batches?

Well, I made a large batch of my Grapefruit and Mint lotion yesterday, as it's been selling really well, and what happened today when I went to bottle it? 
Lotion on the top and water on the bottom.
It hadn't emulsified!
It was either a temperature issue or I neglected to mix it well enough.
The lesson: it doesn't matter how many times you do something, or how well you think you are at it- there are always mistakes and there can always be user error.
Live and learn!

And my apologies to those over the weekend who may want a Grapefruit and Mint Lotion - I'll be making more next week.

I hope to see you over the weekend at a show or two!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vegetable Garden!

So, last week I started my vegetable garden, and this will make it the second year I've planted one.

You may think it's a wee bit early to plant things, and you would be right - depending on what you're planting! Some veggies (carrots, beets, kale, onions, garlic and a few others) should be planted 2-3 weeks before the final frost date for your area (you can find out what it is here), even though most plants should be started indoors at this time and then transplanted outside in mid-May.

I have onions, shallots, garlic, carrots and beets already planted- so here's hoping they flourish and grow!
In mid-May I'll be planting my tomatoes, peas, beans, zucchini and cucumbers, as well as a planter full of herbs!

I don't use any pesticides or herbicides in my garden, but when I do have issues with bugs or grubs I mix up some "fire water" for the garden!
All you need is: Water, natural liquid dish soap (no phosphates), garlic, and chilies. Blend it all together and spray on the plants. The garlic and the chili works to keep most pests and bothersome bugs away.

Also, planting basil, lavender, marigolds and garlic in your garden will also help with pest control.

And don't forget to help our lovely pollinating bees by planting local flowering plants. I'll be planting Thyme and letting it flower to help the bees out!

The parsley I planted last year was growing already!