About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Proceeding with the Placemats

I was at my tai chi class in Comox this morning, then we had lunch with friends at Longlands Golf Course Restaurant, which was very nice surrounded by the green grass with the warm fall sun on our backs as we ate outside on the patio. We got to the Buckley Bay ferry for the 3 pm ferry, but given the Labour Day holiday traffic, it was after 4 pm by the time we got home. I picked a pint of blackberries, went for a swim in the lovely high tide, clear and calm water, and then I had time for a wee bit of quilting before dinner.
I seamed together 4 strips for each placemat. The longest time was spent in pinning every inch to match the crossing seams, and then in carefully pressing open the seams. That was it for the day - tomorrow I will make the quilt sandwich for each mat.
I am pressing with a dry iron on a hardwood tailor's pressing board. The goal is to keep the fabric from stretching.

Here are the completed tops.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quilted Placemats

I made quilted placemats out of scraps last year, and they are so pretty and get so many compliments. My sister-in-law loves them, so I made a pair for her this spring.
This is one of my original scrap placemats. I was practising machine quilting, not very successfully, but I still like the final result. The size is about 16 inches by 12 inches.
We will be staying with friends in London in two weeks time, and I have been wondering what would be an appropriate gift. I have decided to make a set of scrap placemats. I have been saving scraps from my quilts all year, and the scrap box is bulging. I cut many, many 1 1/2 inch strips, sorting light and dark. Then I sewed strips together in groups of 3, alternating light and dark. After pressing seams open (with finished 1 inch squares, pressing seams open gives a much smoother finished product), I then cross cut 1 1/2 strips to make nine patches, or 3 1/2 inch railroad squares.

Strips cut 1 1/2 inches wide.
Here are the nine patch and railroad squares being sewn together into strips five squares long.

Stay tuned for the final product!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall Pasta Dish

Fresh zucchini and tomatoes and garlic make another great dinner. I glugged some olive oil into a pan, and sautéed a chopped onion, then added a chopped zucchini and 3 minced garlic cloves. Added 2 tomatoes chopped, then a pinch of dried red chili pepper and salt and pepper. While that was cooking, I boiled some rigatoni pasta. When that was done, I put the cooked pasta into the veggies and added pasta cooking water until it looked nice and saucy. Then I stirred in crumbled feta cheese. It was lovely to eat.
The veggies cooking all together.

The finished dish, with the pasta and feta added.

Hiking the Holland Creek Trail

Every August for the past 11 years, Julie and I have gone on an outdoor adventure. This year we hiked the Holland Creek Trail in Ladysmith. At 5.8 km it was an easy, short hike, but very enjoyable.
Pictures here https://picasaweb.google.com/111170033211626803182/HollandCreekTrail?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken and Rice Dinner - Easy, one pan, delicious

Sort Of Risotto

Recently I made a flexible list of daily meal plans, just to give myself a break when I need to cook each day's dinner and don't know what to make. Mondays are chicken meals. We love rice with chicken, so I quickly made this easy and delicious dinner tonight with what I had on hand. My neighbour had given me zucchini and the local farm has fresh tomatoes and corn and garlic.
I should have taken a picture of this before I served it, but we were hungry and it smelled so very good. So here is a pic of the left over rice.

Ingredients: 1 large chicken breast, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 medium green zucchini, 1 cup Arborio rice, white wine, saffron.

How to:  In a large frying pan with a lid (I got mine at Ikea, it is part of the Ikea 365+ line of kitchen tools), I sautéed a large chicken breast (bone in and skin on) that I had sliced into 3 times along the flesh so that it would cook faster. I sautéed it in olive oil, skin down, on medium heat. After about 8 minutes, I turned down the heat and added a chopped onion to the pan. I pushed the chicken to the side of the pan, still skin side down, and left it there while doing the rest.
When the onion was soft and starting to brown I added 2 minced garlic cloves. After a minute I added a chopped zucchini. I stirred that all around, then added a cup of short grain rice and stirred to coat the rice. I added salt and pepper and fake saffron (real would be great, but pricey - this gives the colour but not the flavour of the real thing), then gurgled in about 1/4 cup of white wine. When that was nice and bubbly, I added 2 cups of water, brought it all to a boil, then put the lid on and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Then I turned the heat off, put it in a warm oven (200F) for 20 minutes while I sliced some tomatoes and cooked some corn on the cob. I cut the chicken into 2 pieces to serve.
Great dinner, and the wine had to be opened to use in the recipe, didn't it? So there it was, ready to be sipped.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sock Wearing Season Has Arrived

The first few leaves are falling, the blackberries are ripening, apples are reddening on the trees, and even though the sun shines, my feet are chilly and for the first time since June - I put on a pair of socks. I will miss summer very much, but I do love to wear my hand knit socks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Shopping on the Island

Shopping on our small island means a bike ride to the village for the Globe and Mail newspaper, and hurrah, Books by Mail from Vancouver Island Regional Library have loaned me a copy of French Girl Knits. On the way home I stopped at Barbara's roadside stand to pick up tomatoes. Last stop was our mail box for the latest issue of Harper's magazine and a request from Amnesty International for money - snail mail is magazines and charitable requests these days.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chai Tea

A cool windy day calls for chai tea made as follows:
2 cups of water in a pan, with a piece of a cinnamon stick, 8 cardamon pods and 8 cloves simmered for 10 minutes. Black tea, either loose or a bag, and a cup of milk added, simmered for 2 minutes. I drank mine without sugar, but sweetener can be added to taste.

Ready to strain into a cup.

Comforting chai tea in my Bev Severn pottery mug.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quilts in the Forest

This was the weekend of the annual Arts Denman studio tour. I was at the Arts Centre in the afternoon, answering questions and handing out maps. Before my shift I made a point of visiting Stacey Armstrong and Barb Mortell's "Quilt Forest" (link to lots of photos). What a wonderful way to display their stunning quilts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Red-Legged Frog

Rana aurora aurora has taken up residence in one of my crocs, sitting outside near the front door.

Sweet Summer Morning.