Friday, September 16, 2011

sewing by hand...

My life has turned up the hectic of late. I'm into the first of 2 semesters of classes where I have to actually be on campus to participate. A brief description of the geography of northern BC: Prince George, home of UNBC is a 4 hour drive, or 6 hour train ride or 5 hour bus ride from Smithers, home of casa Clong. So, in a nutshell, I'm living in both PG and Smithers, which means I'm putting in some frequent rail miles on good 'ol VIA.

I could write an entire post about my love of trains. Traveling across Canada, was amazing. China's trains rocked my world. Literally - 330km/hr on the fast train. wicked. Our next big adventure trip will definitely involve the choo choo. I love the train.
On a train, you can walk around, lie down, stretch out. In China, there's unlimited hot water so you can drink tea all day and all night long. You can see some amazing scenery not possible from the road (in places along the Canadian railroad - you're not beside the highway at all, so the scenes seem so much more intimate...just a few rail tracks and the wilderness).
And of course, you meet some interesting people.
When we took the train across Canada we met another couple traveling for Christmas and shared in the fun of going to the dining car to buy pop for mixing with our illegal alcohol. In China we met a few young people who gave us insight into modern China. And along the Skeena route, there's plenty of loud tourists to laugh at, or with depending on your mood of the day.
There's always a few characters - the drunken man who wanted a cuddle with me while i was asleep and Mark was in the viewing car (I was saved by our friends in the next seat), or the man in China who couldn't hold it in any more and emptied his bladder on the train floor at the back....sigh...those were the days!

All this to say I met a lovely retired couple from Edinburgh yesterday on the train. We chatted about the trees we saw whizzing by the central interior of BC. We chatted about places to see in Scotland. And then my new Scottish friend pulled out some hand sewing.
I of course was so happy to see this, and struck up a conversation about what she was doing. Turns out she's a passionate hand sewer. She believes in the tradition of quilting, using used materials, and incorporating story and meaning into every element of the quilt. This is not something I thought I was into - a lot of traditional quilts give me nausea due to country-bumpkiness. but then I thought about how, when I first got interested in sewing, it was to re-use/recycle fabrics from home or the salvation army. I wanted to make things new from old. And then I fell in love with designer fabrics. This was no ones fault but my own. They are so fun, modern, and un-country-bumpkin. I love getting a package in the mail full of beautiful. But I have to say that I'm re-inspired by my train companion. What better way to learn about traditional patchwork then go through my scraps and other used fabrics and start making something from other things. It was also happy timing, this meeting, because I recently may have flown to Ottawa for a weekend wedding without asking Mr. ( ladies. Dog house). My pledge to make back the money was to give up specialty coffee (who are we kidding!?!), forgo buying my new grinder (i can do that), and giving up new fabric for one year. This is now my goal. I will use only what's in the house or that can be bought used for the rest of the year for all my sewing needs.
Any hexagon help/good reading material would be much appreciated!
Don't you love this stage of making a resolution - when you're full of hope and optimism that you'll actually do it. You know, before the reality of yet another failed project looming on the horizon becomes obvious...

trains and sewing. love.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Tasty Trail Treats!

John and I planned our first backpacking excursion for the summer this past week, an easy 7 km hike into a lakeside campsite on day 1, a fun mountain scramble for day 2, and an easy return trip from the camp site on the final day. Unfortunately, the summer cold I'd just recovered from hit John the day before the trip and we cancelled in favor of lemon honey ginger tea and less energetic pursuits. Lucky for us the trail snacks were already prepared before we cancelled!

John has been off oatmeal since last summers over indulgence, so I decided to try some Banana Oat Energy Bars to mix it up. I LOVE these! Naturally, I thought it best to share the tasty treat.

The recipe for these came from a homemade binder of back country nutrition information I received on an intro to back country skiing two winters ago. I tried another recipe out of the book as well but it was a major bust. I guess you win some and you lose some.

Here it is:
Cream 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 egg. Add the following:
1.5 cups mashed bananas (I used 4)
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup of each)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups oats (rolled or quick)
1 Tbsp vanilla (I omitted this as we were all out)

Spread it all into a greased pan and bake at 350 F for about an hour. Enjoy!!

PS. Check out the lovely trivet under the cookies. Its the one I received from Linnea on the trivet exchange.