Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Charlie: One Of A Kind

Hi Everyone :)

Today's theme for the Scribble Picnic is "One of a Kind". I guess this watercolour is a self-portrait in a way. After all, I am one of a kind :) I was told once that "they" broke the mold after they made me...but I wasn't sure if that person said it in a good way or a bad way, so I'll assume he meant in a good way!! This painting is called "Thoughts". What goes on in my head, in my world and in my heart is unique to me. Sometimes the thoughts are good, sometimes bad, but they definitely are my own. :) Thoughts lately have been troubling. I can very firmly say "Oh, my shattered noives...(nerves lol)"!!!

We heard something in the woods!! (September 2016)

Swimming in the Rivière du Nord (August 2015)

Charlie, our fiesty female husky gave us quite a scare Sunday night.

Look at this poor little girl! We were sitting in bed watching a movie, when suddenly she started to whine and scratch at her face. Her face must have tripled in size, her eyes got all red and nearly closed. Veterinary emergencies ALWAYS seem to happen either on a holiday or a Sunday night...

Charlie Art

We called the emergency clinic that is just north of Montreal for advice. I have to say I was scared we were going to lose her. The drive is nearly 3 hours away, we were in the middle of a blizzard and you can imagine how much money they charge. The first thing we checked was her gums. They were still pink though it was nearly impossible to open her mouth, that was a sign that her windpipe was not compromised. Phewf. The vet tech (who was ridiculously reluctant to share information and refused to speak to me in English) finally told me to give her 75mg of Benadryl but that "it won't work anyway". What a {insert derogatory expletive if you wish, in my thoughts, I did!!!}! My gosh, how about some compassion and care for the animal instead of your damn cash register??? Anyway, we only had 50mg in the pack so we gave it to her in some yogurt, she had such a hard time swallowing the pills. :(

Charlie: One of a Kind Husky

Sunday night we were both wide awake keeping an eye on our Charlie. After Pavlov's allergic reaction and now Charlie's...we are completely bewildered as to what is causing these poor dears such allergic reactions! She didn't eat anything she wasn't supposed to, we didn't see any bites on her, or hives or physical traumas, cuts...

Her first walk in the woods in 2015 She LOVED it!
We adopted Charlie from a shelter in July 2015. She was skinny, depressed, had been abandoned and was at the shelter already 3 months when we fell for her.

On Monday morning, as soon as 8am hit the clock, I was on the phone with the local vet. We brought Charlie in at 9:30am. The swelling was going down but she was still so itchy and uncomfortable. The poor husky gal was burying her nose in the snow for relief when I took her out to pee in the morning! We didn't have enough Benadryl on hand to see if it would work or not. (btw, safe doses for dogs is 1mg of Benadryl per pound of weight...please keep some at home for emergencies my dear dog lovers!) She was given a shot of anti-histamine mixed with cortisone and a pain killer. She is now on day 3 of the same medicine in pill form. Thankfully the swelling is gone and she is almost back to normal but oh so drowsy. :(

I feel like a drug pusher lately giving all of these pills to our pets...with Marlene's bladder stones, Oscar the cat's mystery allergy, Pavlov's mystery allergy and now Charlie's mystery allergic reaction.

Yesterday I took about an hour to write a list for some major deep cleaning of this rental. Each room has a page like this one. OMG it's going to be a big's an old cottage...the possibilities of things that the pets could be allergic to are endless. Even Alex and I have noticed that we get more congested during the winter. I have to get out and get some natural cleaning supplies tomorrow and then the cleaning overhaul begins. I'm even going to vacuum and wash all the walls and ceilings.

So that's what's been keeping us busy. When it rains it pours doesn't it? I don't even want to think about how much this has all cost...Dinners have been whatever we can find that's quick and easy..Things seem back to normal this morning, so I'll be cooking again today. I need some kitchen therapy before the big deep cleaning!!!

I'll leave you with some of the drawings I've done lately. One thing I'm doing very purposefully is to draw every day, despite the stressors. We haven't eaten or slept well at all this week. Drawing and painting calms me and I don't want the anxiety to take over again!

"Lost" - another patented Rain nightmare, yeesh!

Enchanted Forest (one of a kind trees!) :)

Green Trees
The Sun
Howling at the Moon
Take care everyone, give your little fur-kids a big hug!! :)

PS: I have picked a winner for the book giveaway, and I promise I'll post about that soon!!! :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Stuffed Eggplant Rolls

Hi Everyone :)

Hope your Sunday is going well. There is a blizzard outside and that makes me happy today! I know that this kind of weather will keep the tourists away...there is a winter festival going on in the village and I just want some peace and quiet. This week I tried a new recipe: Dom's Mom's Stuffed Eggplant Rolls. This is from the first of Dom Deluise's cookbooks. It turned out really delicious and it was SO easy to make! I served it with a pasta with butter and minced garlic. What a nice treat! :) 

The recipe called for Ricotta cheese so I made some...I refuse to pay $7 for a half cup of Ricotta at the store! I made 2 cups with some milk that needed to be used, and it cost me $6.50. It tastes better too! :) The recipe also calls for Marinara Sauce. I had ONE Mason jar left that I'd made last fall. Next year I will have to can a lot more of it because we are using more than I thought we would!

Speaking of Mason is your pantry holding out? We're almost March and I have only 3 jars of apple sauce left!! I canned 30 jars last October. I use apple sauce mainly for the hide pills, supplements and for treats. With 5 dogs, I guess I would have needed to double up the canning. I'm getting low on canned tomatoes seems that 65 pounds of tomatoes isn't enough to tide us over the winter anymore!

I've been spending a lot of my time on my art projects. I'm really loving how my life is going lately. I wonder why it took me so long to realize how much I enjoy this! I wanted to show you guys one of the new techniques I've been playing with. My friend Serena shared one of her techniques with me. She suggested I try watercolour as a base, then add colored pencil to the drawing to give it more ooomph, and it definitely has ooomph! :) Thanks again Serena. :) xx I added a few more layers of yellow and bright orange to the piece at the end to cut down the redness a little. I like this technique though I really do need more of a quality sketchpad for this. I bought a Dollar Store one because I wanted to make sure I liked what I was doing. Now that I know I do, I'll be getting some more supplies next shopping day!

**Thanks to those who showed interest in the cookbook I'm giving away! (Tpals you have a good idea, I think I will add a few more little surprises to the package...thanks for the suggestion!) I'll announce the winner on Wednesday's post. There is still time if you are interested. :)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Three "P"'s and a Give Away! :)

"P" #1:  Pavlov has a "mystery allergy" according to the vet. Ugh. Our cat Oscar has the same mystery allergy. It's something in the environment in this rental. We will never be able to pinpoint it, so the solution is that Pavlov is now on allergy pills and so far, his toes are looking better. I switched the cone of shame to Jack's (homemade) boots to give him a break, poor thing. He keeps licking, we have to stop him from doing that to give him a chance to heal.

"P" #2:  PIZZA!!! :) I made a Detroit style pizza the other day and though it was very good, I didn't quite get it the way it should be with the crusty cheese toppling over the sides. I will try again and hopefully have a better report next time! We also had some garlic bread and breaded Mozza (emptying the fridge day!)....does anyone have a BAKED breaded Mozza recipe that actually works? Mine always melt, no matter how long I freeze the cheese first. I think this dish is meant to be deep fried!

"P" #3: Plants. My flowers are really coming up! The chamomile is slow but it's growing! The only hold out is the Marigolds...nothing yet!

There is freezing rain as I type this, wacky weather. The herbs are enjoying life by the window too. I water these every other day and before I go to bed, I put the knitted plant cozies back on them so they stay warm. :) One of the cats nibbled on my "Thyme" label...I had to barricade things even more!

Just this morning the chives burst out of the soil!

Alex got me this cookbook for Christmas. The store sent us two by error and told us to just keep the second one. Is anyone a fan of Dom Deluise? If so, this cookbook is yours for the taking! Just leave a comment if you would like to have it, or send me an email. On my right sidebar, I have an email widget. These are light, mostly Italian style recipes and so far we've had some good meals from this it's very funny to read.

A question without an answer: Why do the hounds sleep ON TOP of the couch? As you can see, we don't own human couches anymore. :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Art and Fun!

Hi Everyone :)

Here is my watercolour painting for the Scribble Picnic this week. I felt very sad as I painted this...I saw a similar image online and this started off as a couple walking down a path together, but then it kind of became this lonely old man walking away from a park bench...I couldn't help but think of my grandfather's sadness after my grandma passed away as I painted this and I got quite emotional! Made me want to hug Alex. :)

I'm calling this painting "Love Lost". Sigh. :)

Anyway... back to the art! Michael's theme today is "Fill in the Blank" and the inspiration is a rectangle. (See the details here).

I know that my rectangle (the bench) in the painting might be a bit wider than his, so I tried a few drawings to make up for it! :) And to cheer myself up!!! :)

Can't go wrong with Snoopy and Woodstock! :) I can't wait to soak up some summer sunshine! :)

This piece was very new for me! My friend Dianna sent me a photo of an illustration that she found particularly creepy! It's from the Stephen King novel "Needful Things". The artist is Bill Russell. When I saw it, I thought it would be fun to try out my shading, using only the black pencil. But I did add some white highlights with the white pastel. I figured there would be plenty of rectangular shapes in this drawing to join the picnic :) Here is the original:

This was done using a method called "scratch-board illustration". It's a method where you cover a panel of cardboard with ink then scratch out your designs using a sharp tool. I think this is something I would love to try!

Alex and I went out on Monday for a walk and it was snowing beautifully! It was supposed to rain all day but we were happy with the snow because we went for a little slide!

A few blocks from where we live, there's a really tall ramp type of thing where you can slide down. We rarely go there because it's overrun with people, but the village was empty on Monday so we gave it a go! I screamed the entire way'd be surprised how much velocity you have when you are in slippy snow!

Here are some of the drawings and pastels I've done the last week. :) Thank you again for all of your support with my art adventure! :)

Sunset at Blue Cabin

Hoping that February Showers Bring March Flowers

Piano Dreams

My Tribute to The Scream (or "How I Felt Turning 50 Years Old") ;)

True Colours/Strut Your Stuff!

Look at the presents I got from Alex for my 50th! :) I got the hat and the aromatherapy diffuser early, but the rest was a nice surprise! The Kit Kat was a joke favourite chocolate bar! :)

We watched movies pretty much all afternoon, drank special coffees and he took care of dinner. He made me a Smoked Cheddar and Apple Fondue...(yup! another fondue!!)...this one is particularly good with the smoked Cheddar and apple flavours mingling so well, my favourite of all the fondues we've tried so far! And look! He used my potato for the bread! :) I have a little obsession for dishes shaped as food lol...

Did you notice he put more Kit Kats on the cake? :) This is a Ferrero Rocher about yummy! This one definitely won't go to waste, guess what I'm having for breakfast!!! :) We opened the 10 year old port too, what a treat! Thanks to all of you guys for the birthday wishes this week as I so SUBTLY mentioned I'm turning 50 lol! :)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mississippi Mud S'Mores Fudge Pie, Tomato Pizza Fondue...A Sweet Gift

Hi Everyone! I hope you're having a nice Sunday. I am because the weather is mild, the snow is melting and that means the loud neighbours can't rev their snowmobiles back and forth all day long, yippee! :) I wanted to share our Valentine's Day meal with you! Firstly, do you do stuff like this? I look up napkin folding for every celebration, isn't this cute? :)

We had a nice romantic meal! I tried out a new fondue, I think it's a winner!

Tomato Pizza Fondue.  When you dip your bread into this lovely fondue, it really does taste like a luscious pizza! :) LOVED this one! 

Okay, are you ready??? Drumroll please....

TADAAA!!! One of the finer cakes I've made in a LONG time!!! This beauty is a Mississippi Mud S'Mores Fudge Pie!! (say that 5 times fast!!) This is basically a chewy brownie in a graham cracker crust with browned marshmallows and chocolate syrup...all we could manage was to share one piece together after the fondue! 

Look at that crust!

We had Shepherd's Pie during the week too. I make mine meatless and just add cheese on top for the broiler, so I guess it's just a corn and potato pie! I always make more for Alex and freeze the rest for quick microwave lunches for him. We finished off the leftover Homemade Ketchup with it and it was really delicious!

Linguine Carbonara. Since winter is all about comfort, this reflects in most of my meals...who am I kidding? My entire LIFE is about comfort! We have more celebrating this week because it's my 50th birthday on Tuesday. It's hard to believe, feels like a dream or something. I don't feel my age, but my life seems to have flown by too quickly! :) Speaking of that today is my one-year anniversary of starting this blog! I've been blogging off and on since 2007, but this one is really where my heart is. :)

A sweet gift from a Sweet Heart. :) Most of you know Mama Pea over at A Home Grown Journal. She and I have become very good friends over the last year! I went to check the mail on Valentine's Day because I was expecting an order. Lo and behold, look what Mama Pea had sent me! A handmade Valentine!!! Isn't she the sweetest? And it arrived on the perfect day! Isn't her address label cute? Her daughter, Chicken Mama, made them for her. Thank you again Mama Pea!!! I'll treasure this on my memory board always! :) xxx

I've been wanting to try pastels for a while and when they went on sale, I couldn't resist!

I was kind of flying blind the first day I used them! I came up with a stormy's not my favourite, but it gave me an idea of how the pastels work and what I can do with them.

Then yesterday I really had some fun! I took my time and played with colours and blending and I'm so proud of my little red squirrel!! :) I think I will have permanently smudged fingertips from all the blending!