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    Great Art, Food and Friends : The Paintings of Sue Tupy at C9 Gallery

    at opening party for sue tupy artwork at c9 gallery toronto yorkville


    I had the pleasure of attending the opening party for a new show by Canadian artist Sue Tupy, at C9 Gallery on Thursday evening.

    The artist was there, so it was very exciting to meet her!

    Sue Tupy lives north of Toronto, in Collingwood. She has always been immersed in art, as her father was the founder of Blue Mountain Pottery.

    I grew up amidst those iconic bluegreen-black streaked pieces of pottery, as my mother is a fan and had/has a collection of them. In fact, I remember a family vacation taken when I was a child, that included a tour of the Blue Mountain factory. It's funny to think that Sue, whose beautiful paintings I enjoyed seeing last week, had very likely been there at the time.

    The exhibition of new work is called "Awakening Venus : A Deconstruction of the Goddess", and is described as portraying "the individual divine spirits and moments that have touched and lifted Sue, nurturing in her a true sense of self awakening, and an epiphany of who she truly is, through a process of achieving self reconstruction through deconstruction. This exhibition puts a modern twist on the classical figure of Venus, contemporary, spontaneous, unpolished, worldly, and with audacity to share."

    The gloriously colourful paintings are nicely displayed against the sleek white space at the C9 Gallery. Readers may recall that this gallery, found at 7 Sultan Street in Yorkville, is located in a notable place -- it's in one of those beloved "new construction that incorporates old original buildings", in this case, a row of treasured mid-1800s Victorian Era townhouses. You enter the gallery by slipping along a path between two of the historic buildings. (There are photos and a more detailed discussion about the site, in this post, if you'd like to see.)

    Here's a look at the party and some of the excellent art ...

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    Party Food : Pizza Mini Muffins with Dipping Sauce

    pizza mini muffin hors doeuvres appetizer party food vegetarian how to recipe

    Hello!

    Here's a recipe for a vegetarian hors d'oeuvre that everyone seems to really like. These "Pizza Mini Muffins" have green olives in them, but, in my experience, even bona fide olive-haters enjoy them, happily accepting seconds. In fact, this recipe is being posted here at the specific request of one of them!


    Pizza Mini-Muffins
    Makes 24
    Time : About 30 minutes prep + 20 minutes baking

    Ingredients:

    - 3/4 C. flour
    - 3/4 tsp baking powder
    - 1 tsp each of dried oregano and dried basil
    - 1/8 tsp onion powder
    - A dash of cayenne pepper
    - A pinch of salt
    - 3/4 cup milk
    - 1 egg, beaten
    - 2 tsp olive oil
    - 3/4 cup chopped green pimiento stuffed olives (about 40 of the small ones that come in a jar)
    - 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 125 grams)

    Directions:

    - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 24 hole mini-muffin pan.
    - In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, oregano, basil, onion powder, cayenne pepper and salt.
    - Add milk, beaten egg and olive oil, and whisk until just combined.
    - Add cheese and olives and stir.
    - Spoon into mini-muffin cups. (There should be just the right amount of batter to make 24, so divide it evenly.)
    - Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

    Serve warm or at room temperature, with about 1/2 cup of warm Pizza Sauce for dipping.

    The sauce can certainly be store bought, but if you'd like to make some from scratch, here's how.
    (If using store bought, heat gently on the stove in a pot or use a microwave oven.)

    Pizza (Dipping) Sauce
    Makes about 1/2 cup
    Takes about 30 minutes

    Ingredients:

    - 3 to 4 medium sized or 2 to 3 large tomatoes
    - About 1/4 cup chopped onion
    - 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
    - 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
    - 1/4 tsp each dried oregano and basil
    - salt to taste

    Directions:

    - There's no need to peel the tomatoes, however, if you'd prefer to, cut a shallow cross into the skin and drop them into a pot of boiling water. Boil for about a minute and remove. Cool under running water. Peel should come right off.

    - Cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds (squeeze halves over a bowl and they should drop right out). Chop tomatoes.
    - Heat a frying pan and then add the olive oil. Add onions and garlic and saute until cooked through, making sure they don't burn (burnt garlic tastes remarkably terrible!).
    - Add tomatoes, oregano and basil and simmer until thickened. Add salt, a bit at a time, stirring and tasting, until it is as salty as you'd like it.
    - If required/desired, blend sauce with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor.
    - If required, further reduce by returning to pan and simmering a bit longer.

    The Pizza Muffins keep for a few days, wrapped and refrigerated. Or they can be frozen. To serve, place frozen on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and heat in 350 degree oven for a few minutes until thawed and warmed through.

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    A Celebration of Friendship : Six Years with Julie

    me and j sixth friendiversary


    Hello and welcome! I know I don't need to tell you how important friends are in life, so I'll just jump in and tell you about a get together Nick and I had with Julie and Guy last week, in honour of our cherished relationship.

    I met Julie 6 years ago when she turned around to talk to me in a line-up, demonstrating that you just never know when/how an important person will enter your life! In fact, I almost didn't even join that line-up but today I'm certainly glad that I did.

    When we met, Jules had recently had a young daughter and was in the process of writing her first book of poetry, which was published a few months later. She also wrote one of Canada's most popular blogs on the subject of knitting, Knitted Bliss.

    We bonded over the fact that we were both bloggers (I had only written a few posts at the time) and we both loved working with yarn, she knitting with it, and I crocheting. (It's two needles versus one hook, for anyone wondering ... I get asked about that all the time!)

    Since then, she has had another child, a boy, and published a second book of poetry, all the while continuing to write her blog and other things.

    Since I've written quite a few stories here about things Julie and I have done together, you may already know that we get together regularly. She is a courageous, friendly and loving person, who I'm happy to have as a trusted friend.

    Our men, Nick and Guy, got in on the relationship a year after Julie and I met, when J and G came over to our place for dinner.

    Since then, one of the things we've all done together several times is go to the AGO First Thursdays event at the art gallery. That's an evening when they offer music, food, drinks and special activities, and generally make a party out of going to the gallery.

    So, it made sense that we celebrate our sixth (and fifth for the guys) Friendiversary by going to that.

    It was on November 1st and the theme this month was "Roll Up Your Sleeves", in relation to the main exhibit currently on called "Anthropocene". (We didn't go to that show this time, however I wrote about it recently in this post).

    As always, First Thursdays was a lot of fun. We were so busy talking and looking at art, though, that we managed to miss all of the scheduled sessions that went on. We didn't mean to, as there were definitely interesting activities planned, however, time just got away from us, and when we arrived at the various locations we found that we were too late. In hindsight, actually, I wonder how the time flew by like it did.

    Here are some photos of the evening ...

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    In the Garden : A New Bunch of Bulbs

    halloween decorations at east end garden centre queen street east toronto


    Six years ago I wrote about how we'd found a good place to get tulip bulbs for our garden. A friendly and helpful salesperson at Canadian Tire told us about a "gold mine" of a garden centre, where we'd find all the bulbs our hearts could desire. That was the East End Garden Centre, (located in the Leslieville neighbourhood, at 1395 Queen Street East).

    The thing about spring blooming bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths, is that you have to plant them in the autumn, so they'll bloom in the spring. So, there's a good six months of delayed gratification involved with them. Also, you have to realize you're going to want tulips in your garden in the spring, half a year earlier in the autumn, when most gardening tasks involve dealing with a growing season that has come to the end.

    That's all to say that, aside from the red tulips the former residents had planted and a random couple of bags of bulbs I'd put in the second year we lived here, we had never really gotten the spring flower thing mastered. And, every April, as we walked around admiring other people's gardens, we'd say to ourselves, this fall, we must remember to get some bulbs.

    Anyway, we finally did remember to get some six years ago, which is when we tracked down the East End Garden Centre as a source.

    And, oh the thrill of seeing them appear in the garden the following spring! It was very satisfying, indeed. So thrilling, in fact, that when October rolled around again, we went back to the garden centre for more. That time, we branched out and, in addition to a few more tulip varieties, we also got some hyacinths and Alliums (which are a member of the onion family and produce big round purple flowers).

    So, in the spring of 2014, we presented a small patch of ground, decorated with a riotous array of colours. I don't mean to boast, but we'd look out the window to see people just standing beyond the fence, looking at all the flowers. One day we walked out the door to find our somewhat curmudgeony elderly neighbour out there with his camera, snapping shots. He said he hoped we didn't mind, and that it reminded him of what his mother's garden had been like.

    The payoff of so much joy for a relatively minimal amount of effort caused us to agree that we'd continue to add to the bulbs every autumn. And then we preceded to forget to do so for the next 4 years.

    During that period, some of the previously planted flowers came back every year, but with each year, there were fewer and fewer returnees. Some varieties did much better than others, and some completely died away.

    That brings us to a couple of weeks ago, when we drove over to the trusty garden centre to get more. As you'll see by the photos, they certainly had what we were looking for. We walked away with 65 bulbs, but we really could have gotten more. They carry so many varieties.

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    Autumn Crochet : A Cute Owl Adorns a Renewable Everlasting Sachet

    crocheted renewable scent sachet essential oils how to owl granny square pattern by sarah


    I could not resist trying out this pattern for a Crocheted Owl Granny Square, created by Sarah of the cleverly named blog Repeat Crafter Me.

    I used it to make one of my "Renewable Everlasting Sachets", that smell exactly how you want them too because you're the one who adds the scent via your favourite essential oils or perfume, first written about in this post.

    The way these work is that a 100% cotton insert cushion goes into an attractive cover. You add a few drops of essential oil or sprays of perfume to the insert, which are absorbed by the cotton. When dry, you put the cover on and hang to display. You can renew the scent whenever you please.

    Considering that this is the fourth one I've made, these work very nicely. You could say I am hooked on them (haha, a lame crocheting joke.)

    They're terrific for adding a nice scent to a smaller room, or to scent a drawer or suitcase. We have one hanging in our guest washroom, which I refresh with new oil before people come over. So far, I've made one that works for Spring and Summer decor (the one linked above), and a second one for the Christmas season, shown in this post.

    I also made one as a gift for my sister, which I wrapped along with a bottle of lavender essential oil. She loves the scent of lavender and really liked the gift. You can see that one and shots of her opening the gift in this post, if you'd like.

    So, I needed one for Autumn, which is where that charming little owl comes in.

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