Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Means Arts and Crafts Shows

On the weekend we went on one of our little rambles.

First we went to the Ernst & Young Centre in Ottawa for the annual Originals Craft Show. We used to go to this show all the time, but apparently we have not been in the past four years, since one of the venders told me they had been at that location that long.  I'm sure we had never experienced the show there before.  Another reason I'm sure I must not have been lately was that everything was new to me, other than one or two crafters and the Manitoulin gourmet food producers from Hawberry Farms, who make the jams and dips, etc. the only other person I recognized there was John Shae. He's one of my favorite area artists, and we seem to find him everywhere we go.  Of course, seeing all new (to me) vendors just made it an even better show as there was lots to explore and be tempted by. 

There was a man from the Gaspe region who creates marvelous boxes with little drawers, as well as the most fantastic bird houses I've ever seen. He does it all with driftwood he finds at the beach.  No two pieces are alike as the wood dictates what he does with it. Then there was the lady who sews purses, or bags, that are designed to carry your iPad as well as your usual purse stuff. I bought a purse big enough to do that last year, but these were made of denim and weighed next to nothing. That's a plus point right there!  Some of them had sayings embroidered on them in either English or French. They were totally washable too.  I was very impressed with her designs.  And nothing is as fascinating as Birchbark Poetry....pictures Mother Nature paints on bits of birch bark, found, preserved and framed by  Galyna Kovalenko, Elena Galiamova & Stalina Roubinova.

I'm always on the lookout for sauces that you can pour over ice cream or cake.  Hillshire Farms used to have them, but they don't anymore.  I found some wonderful ones at the Originals Craft Show containing maple syrup, butter and honey.  Some even had sea salt added, which seems to be the latest fad in foods.  I tasted a couple of varieties and picked one out. It was so good!  It is my usual method to tour the room and then go back and pick up what I decide to take home, so that I don't spend money at one booth, only to discover something I'd rather have further along.  I fully intended to go back for this marvelous concoction, but my hubby discovered some Verbena Blue Jam from the Tangled Garden  and didn't hesitate to pay for that then and there. I knew I was not going to leave without the Crab Mousse from the Little Shop of Lobsters. Since it was pretty pricey, I ended up leaving without the carmel sauce after all. 

On the way home we stopped at Manotick, for their Art Association's Brush With Art Spring Show and Sale. It was a little difficult to locate, but once there we viewed the work of 65 artists.  I enjoyed the works of Douglas Laing and Joseph Coban, both of whom were new to me, as well as many others. I could not leave without one of Bonnie McQuillan's delightful cat magnets. The are the size of a post card, so they are meant more for display than to hold things in place. This is now on my refrigerator, and makes me smile every time I enter the kitchen.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Chocolate Adventures

I decided to have the family Easter gathering a little early this year, in order to make sure I got a turn with the grandchildren. I wanted to get them some treats, but decided that it would be more fun to let them make their own.  My grandsons are now 6 and 10 years old, and I figured they might enjoy filling some of my old chocolate molds themselves. 

The younger one put a few spoonfuls into the mold that made assorted bunny and chick shapes, and then wandered off to watch a movie. The older one loves doing anything involving food, so he stuck around and finished filling that tray. I popped it into the freezer, and proceeded to teach him how to make a  hollow egg.  While he was doing that, I made a hollow duck for his little brother.

I also had a mold that has a space for sucker sticks, but that mold makes 8 three inch rabbits, and that can be a lot of chocolate to eat all at once.  I added some Rice Krispies to the remaining chocolate, and we proceeded to create those together. He spooned the chocolate, and I inserted the sticks, banging the tray on the table from time to time to settle the chocolate more evenly into the molds. 

When things came out of the freezer, I had everyone's attention.  They liked the cute shapes the chocolate had made.  I divided up everything equally, and putting the treats into special bags I had picked up at Bulk Barn. They had different colours and patterns on them so there would be no arguments about who owned the one that had the most left in it later in the week.

When we were making the hollow stuff, I was busy instructing my grandson to turn the egg, to make sure he got the chocolate everywhere on both sides and to keep turning it so that none of the chocolate would settle in all one place inside.  I wasn't paying enough attention to the little duck I was making.  When we unmolded them, the little duck had weak spots, and broke.  Luckily the younger grandson was not at all disappointed. He quickly learned that you can eat mistakes and they taste just as good.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Easter.