Something From Nothing and a little bit of Everything!

The art of turning "good junk" into "great design"

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris, Hopes and Fears for Art (1882)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pumpkin Trifle

With Thanksgiving just around the corner in Canada, and our bountiful Fall harvest my thoughts turn to wonderful pumpkin desserts and this is a favourite at our house.  It not only tastes delicious but it is easy and looks fantastic on a Harvest table.  I hope that you enjoy this fabulous trifle as much as my family does.  Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving.

I have adapted this recipe from one that I found in Taste of Home magazine years ago.  It called for gingerbread cake mix, but as I couldn't find that here, I used a Duncan Hines Cake mix instead.  The recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but if you have pumpkin in the garden, why not use a small pie pumpkin instead.

1 Duncan Hines Spice  Cake Mix
1 package cook and serve Vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1 can ( 29 oz) solid pack pumpkin- not pie filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 container  Cool whip- or fresh whipped cream.

Prepare and bake spice cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9 in round baking pans.  Cool completely.
Meanwhile, for pudding, in a large saucepan combine pudding mix and milk and stir until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened.   Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Combine pumpkin, brown sugar and spices and stir into the pudding.
In a 4 quart trifle bowl crumble or place the entire cake layer in the bottom of the bowl- it looks nicer whole, and then I score the top so everything comes together.  Top with half of the pudding mixture, and whipped topping.  Repeat the layers.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
This makes a lot so is a great dessert for a large gathering.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Risotto Con Parmigiano- Comfort Food

Although the weather has been hot and humid for late August, this past Thursday a rain storm rolled through before dinner that cooled things off considerably and led me to think of comfort food.  Salmon on the BBQ and some cheesy Arborio Rice would fit the bill.  This recipe is a little time consuming but the wait is so worth it.

I prefer the President's Choice Arborio, pictured to the left, and the recipe is actually right on the box.

In a saucepan bring 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock ( or even half white wine if you wanted) to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and  keep warm.
In a large saucepan heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat add 1/4 cup diced onion and 1 clove minced garlic.  Saute for 5 mins stirring often until soft
Stir in 2 cups rice and 3/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly for 2 mins.
Using a ladle add 1/2 cup hot stock at a  time to the rice, stirring constantly.  Wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.  Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a simmer.  Continue cooking and stirring the rice, adding stock 1/2 cup at a time for 20-25 mins or until rice is tender with a firm centre and dish is creamy.
Remove from heat.  Stir in 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese,  and 2 Tbsp butter. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 This dish is a great side for many meats, and I think is even better left over.  Try it, and let me know what you think

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Wishes"- Pallet Art

Well I had neglected my mantle for way too long.  It was July and I still had silk forsythia in a large vase on the hearth.  It was really time to change things out. You can't still be celebrating spring in the heat of summer.
I went in search of a pallet and of course Jeff's reaction was what are you going to do with that.  Patience my friend, I have a vision.
I asked him to use his power tools and make me a tall piece.  I liked that the heads of the nails were rusty and that they show. Of course he wanted to pull them out. Sometimes we just don't see the same thing.
With a couple of scraps of lumber he fastened the 5 boards together and then it was time for my creative side to get to work.

I knew that I wanted something summery and light, but what was the right saying.
I tried out "If horses were wishes, beggars would ride" but that caused a great debate about what that actually means and because I didn't want to explain my version, that implied that wishes come true if you only wish them, I decided to keep searching.
And when I found what I wanted and a link on Pinterest of how to draw a dandelion  it was time to get to work.
I wanted to try out the transfer technique that I had also seen on Pinterest to  Transfer letters What a great way to get the letters exactly like I envisioned.  Sadly, that day our printer would not print in black.  Now what?
 I enlarged each individual word on my computer screen and free handed the script.  I think it turned out exactly like I envisioned~light and airy, just like that dandelion.  What do you think?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pebble Art

I am reposting this little craft project as it appears that it is no longer in our archived posts for some reason.  This is one of my favourite inexpensive projects, and I thought if you missed it, this would be a perfect time for you to make your vacation treasures into a work of art.

A few years ago our summer vacation was a fabulous stay at a cottage on the water in Prince Edward Island, and although not the warmest of summers it was a relaxing week at the sea. Each day we walked the beach at least once and searched the red sand for treasure.

Our Private Beach near Victoria Harbour Prince Edward Island
Having seen a stone picture in a gift shop at a price tag that I could not believe, over, $180 each, the search was on for the perfect stones to create my own pictures.

 Not only are they a reminder of that idyllic week at the beach, but the family "portrait" and the "Laundry Day" art, work perfectly in our home.

The drift wood, and sticks were also collected on the beach to complete these memorable pieces.  I love how the stones in "A Gentle Breeze" really do resemble articles of clothing. 
 I already had the frames at home that I had bought on sale for $4.00 each, a piece of scrapbook paper and the handy glue gun and voila, a new piece of art to hang.

Since then I have found and am addicted to  pinterest and  there are all kinds of other ideas to create a piece of "art" out of your vacation treasures.  Can't wait to create something fabulous with the sea glass, collected on that awesome PEI beach.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We're back...again

I know that it has been awhile since we have posted anything new and a while ago, I announced that we were back, but life got busy again and I lost my drive.  I have come to the realization, that I want to write.  As a child I would often scribe stories and poems and with my love of books, maybe Librarian should have been one of my career goals.  Not sure I have a book in me, but need to get back to my creative self and this seems like the perfect venue to combine my love of words and the satisfaction of creating something from nothing.  Laura and I will be posting lots of new projects and recipes especially with Fall's imminent arrival- a great time for creating and decorating.  See you soon.