Vegan and Raw Cooking and Lifestyle

Posted October 15, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books, Health

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After yet another health meltdown and excruciating nerve and muscle pain and edema, I decided that I would have to change, change forever.

Is food that important that you kill yourself with it? That should be an easy answer, but many of us get hooked on these repeating patterns of relying on food for comfort. My doctor can’t help me, several medications she has put me on made me sick and did not alleviate the underlying condition.

I was re-reading (for the umpteenth time) Dr. John McDougall’s excellent book The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health which has been in-print since 1990. I love this book because it has recipes, but he thoughtfully talks about health and has an appendix in the back that is a basic guide for medical conditions, and the way they are conventionally treated, and the way he treats them. There is a way out, as John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, Neal Barnard, Dean Ornish, and Joe Cross keep telling us all.


One paragraph struck me this time when reading the McDougall book:

One other suggestion is needed: Don’t be half-hearted about the deal we’re arranging. Some of you are quietly thinking: “I’ll try out McDougall’s program—sort of.”

That was me, over and over again. Of course, your health won’t completely improve in twelve days, but it’s a start, it’s a way to give the body a fighting chance.

I never have much luck with vegan recipes but I tried the Hearty Stew recipe on page 242 of my edition of the book and it was great.


I also decided that a bit of raw vegan food (other than carrot and celery sticks) might be interesting to add to the mix so I bought three books.

The first one is Becoming Raw by Brenda Davis et al. I thought this looked good because I have a relative who constantly worries about my protein intake on a vegan diet. Joel Fuhrman address this as well in his book Eat to Live, but this new book has even more scientific data I can peruse.


The next one is a cookbook called Raw & Simple by Judita Wignall where the recipes don’t call for a food dehydrator, an expense I’m not sure I want to embrace. I wish I was one of those people who loved cooking and trying new recipes but I’m not really keen. However, I’m going to try and get interested.


The third one, The Simply Raw Kitchen was written by Canadian Natasha Kyssa so I thought I might actually have a chance to buy equipment or ingredients here without trying to order from the States. Americans seem to have everything, it’s amazing, but in Canada we don’t have the population to support specialty shops in rural areas like mine.


A final note from Joel Fuhrman:

As long as you are still breathing, it is still possible to improve your health with improvements in lifestyle and nutrition.




Patterns for a Doll for an 18-inch Doll

Posted October 6, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Dolls

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Finally, Gini Simpson is offering the patterns I wanted in PDF format for download. Last year I tried to buy these from the States. Each pattern is only four pages but it would have cost me about $20 for one pattern, so I put it off the burner.

This year she had them at her Etsy shop, including a 20% discount if you bought two patterns so I bought these two as an early Christmas present. You can alter these or paint them differently, there are all kinds of possibilities for customizing them. I bought two styles, one with conventional stuffed arms joined with buttons, and one with twigs or similar for legs and arms. Plus, one is a cat, we all like a cat pattern, right?


I am looking forward to making these for Saila’s doll collection. She is too. I guess this means I might sew her a new dress to go with her new dollies.

Hug Maud close Saila, you will soon have some other toys.




Pinterest is Dead

Posted September 27, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Computers

Tags: , ,

When I do Google searches, Pinterest boards often come up in the search results so I’ve been browsing there more than I used to. Pinterest has recently developed a policy where they drastically truncate the results, making it impossible to browse full pages or results unless you join up and log in using Facebook or an e-mail address. No thanks.


That lets me out, so this “service” is rendered extinct. There’s no point looking at a site that essentially dies the minute you try to use it and then holds you as a hostage. Say “Hello” to the dinosaurs Pinterest.

Out of sight, out of mind.



My Final Kick at the Book Can

Posted September 4, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , , , ,

These are the last ones I’ll be able to buy for a long time due to having limited retirement funds. In an effort to cover all the bases of emotion and health I used a recommendation from another blogger to buy these books:


1) Living with Your Heart Wide Open: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Unworthiness, Inadequacy & Shame by Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl

2) Calming Your Anxious Mind: How Mindfulness & Compassion Can Free You from Anxiety, Fear and Panic by Jeffrey Brantley

3) Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment by Ezra Bayda. I ordered this on inter-library loan first and liked it so much that I wanted my own copy.

4) Buddha’s Book of Sleep: Sleep Better in Seven Weeks with Mindfulness Meditation by Joseph Emet. I refer to my bed as “the pit of torture” due to insomnia and chronic pain, so here’s hoping this gives me a way through that.

Since I am doing so much embroidery lately and have extensive stashes of thread and ribbon, I thought I’d buy a new book on crazy quilting. I do like this sort of thing for purses, but I’m not too keen on quilts using this technique. Small items look great to me. What I liked about this book is that she actually tells you what needle to use with what thread and has some inventive insects and animals to embroider. She also uses a lot of beading and silk ribbon and I have tons of that on hand.

5) Foolproof Crazy Quilting by Jennifer Clouston


These were on a separate order from some time ago but they both have interesting information on colour and technique.

6) Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color by Felix Scheinberger. Scheinberger’s book was originally published in German and he has a very European approach, and an interesting technique with colours which is bold. I like the storytelling aspect he speaks about too.


7) Urban Sketching: The Complete Guide to Techniques by Thomas Thorspecken. “Composition, line work, color, mood, speed and impact for sketching buildings, people, cars, bikes, streets, public spaces, and the world that surrounds you.”


Both books are similar to what I have, but a bit heavier on staying loose and colour. I like illustration books more than painting books so I like to have a few of these. They are great for browsing through and simply enjoying the art of other people.

I could probably enjoy the art of other people in the books I own for 1,000 years, but I do like a visual!



Embroidery Progress and New Threads

Posted September 4, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Needlework

Tags: , , ,

I am doing well on my purse flap. I just have to outline the motif on the left and then I can start filling it in.


The woman I was trying to order some variegated Presencia Finca #12 perle cotton kindly reduced the shipping price so I could afford to buy three balls that I special ordered.

I tried them as soon as they arrived and really like the thread. I think I like it slightly better than the Valdani I am using in my purse flap. The spacing of the dye seems better in the Finca, less subtle and the thread definition seems better too. It’s a shame that it is so hard to find.

This is an old piece of quilting cotton that I am filling up with trial runs of various threads and stitches. At some point when it’s filled up I will use it for a purse of some sort. I have marked the respective trials of the Finca in this image.


I am gradually chipping away at these projects, but I make a lot of things in several disciplines so it might take a while to complete, or not.


Choosing Colours for Embroidered Purse Flap

Posted August 23, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Needlework, Sewing

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I am trying the Valdani perle and wanted to buy some Presencia Finca perle to try too but with shipping it was too much money for 3 balls. The shipping cost almost $17 (more than the $12 order), so it’s well above my means. Canada Post is going to put many small business owners out of business at those rates.

Fortunately I had the manufacturer’s registration marks for all the colours on the selvedge of the main fabric. From there, I pulled out several suitable colours which you can see in the top tier.


Top tier from left to right:

Valdani perle cotton #12 – Maroon Moss – 524
DMC 154 – Red Vy Dk
Valdani perle cotton #12 – Rich Plum – 86
Anchor 218 – Pistachio Green Vy Dk
DMC 3350 – Dusty Rose Ult Dk
Weeks Dye Works Hand Overdyed Cotton – Rum Raisin – 1270
DMC 367 – Pistachio Green
DMC 502 – Blue Green
DMC 598 – Light Turquoise

On the bottom tier are a few odd things to mix in for a bit of zing. I find threads that are too matchy-matchy lack zip so I like to mix in some subtle blends and pops of colour.

Bottom tier left to right:

Silk Twist #12 – Vicki Clayton/Hand Dyed Fibers – Holly Berry
Silk Twist #12 – Vicki Clayton/Hand Dyed Fibers – Pansy
DMC 208 Lavender Vy Dk
Threadworx 1083 Hand Overdyed Cotton – 1083 – Romantic Wedding

I am using the Valdani Maroon Moss with occasional dashes of DMC 154 (which is a deep purple-red) for the variegated outlining in chain stitch and single or double stem stitch. So far it looks great, I like the extra subtlety of the DMC adding a purplish tone among the black and maroon of the Valdani.


I managed to scrounge up a package of proper crewel needles. I was finding the needles I had were shredding the Valdani, so needed something bigger with a large eye. I am slightly disappointed in the Valdani, nothing really beats the sheen and durability of DMC floss, and they have such a gorgeous palette of colours.



Finally That Handbag!

Posted August 21, 2014 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Needlework, Sewing

Tags: , , , , , ,

I bought the purse pattern A Pocket Full of Sunshine by Natalie Ross in April 2013, and hauled it out again in May 2014. After buying embroidery patterns from Kate & Rose, I realized I wanted to use them instead of the pattern that came with the the Natalie Ross pattern. Then I got sidetracked making practice pieces and a birthday present but I’m back to this now since I need a new purse for winter.

I felt the patchwork and ruffles were a bit cutesy for what I wanted, so I’m cutting the purse in two main prints only. The main black print with the grapes and leaves is a lovely, heavy polished cotton I bought to make decorative pillows ten years ago. I never made them because I knew the cats would wreck them, so it sat until a recent re-discovery. It’s perfect for an autumnal purse.

I found her flap pattern slightly off in symmetry from left to right, so I scanned the right half into Photoshop and flipped it to get a second side, and re-did the labels and got rid of the distracting linework for the embroidery. After printing and taping the two sides together, I glued it to a heavy board for tracing onto fabric and batting.


I outlined the template onto tracing paper so I could use the printed motifs from the Kate & Rose Bewitching Botanicals, and move them around to decide how to place the embroidery on the flap.


Having finished, you can see that it’s less twee, a bit more classic than the original embroidery design. I’m in my fifties, I don’t do cute.


Serendipity: I decided to flip the design when tracing it on my flap fabric, a softly monochromatic botanical print. I traced the outer line in a fine permanent marker since it will eventually be cut off and I used an HB pencil for tracing the motifs. I needed a fairly dark line in order to see it on the coloured fabric. I placed it to get the print of the fabric to fill in some of the open areas at left and right to balance the entire look of the flap.


The soft green is a quilting cotton but it seemed a bit light so I decided to baste a layer of thin cotton batiste under it since this will be fairly heavily embroidered. I basted around the motifs and edges of the flap to keep it from puckering.


I tested it in my embroidery hoop and it seems to be nice and flat, so I’m ready to go. I will be trying out my new Valdani perle cotton for outlining this, so it’s exciting to finally get going.


I use a 6-inch hoop because I’ve tried larger ones and just don’t get the tautness and control I need. Embroidery frames are hard for me to use with my tendinitis, so I use what works for me. This little hoop and I have created many interesting things over the last two decades.




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