About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day

Ah, the day after Christmas. Time to relax, read the gift books, eat the leftovers and maybe go for a short walk. The enjoyable necessity to bake and cook and wrap gifts and phone relatives is over, and this quiet contemplative day is lovely.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stamped muslin placemats

I sold one of my stamped muslin table runners at the Christmas Craft Faire, with a commission to make a set of matching placemats. They are to be a late gift, so I do not want to wait too long to get them done. Once I had the studio cum guest cottage all clean and tidy for our holiday guest, I started the hand quilting of these. And in sorting through my stash of fabric I found the nice quality black fabric that I will use for the binding.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Origami Card Ornament

This project was just fun. I like origami and stamps and stickers and got to use them all. My ingredients were an old National Geographic map for the origami (the quality of the paper is wonderful - fine and strong and it folds crisply), watercolour paper for the stamped cover, ocean themed stickers from my collection, ribbon and a bead.
I used a pattern from the book Origami Card Craft by Karen Elaine Thomas . My project is the one featured on the cover of the book.
I have hung the folded card on the Christmas tree as an ornament.

The folded card.

The card open to display map and sticker pages.

The card open to show the covers and the sticker pages.

Christmas Apron

I have a head cold that is heading to my chest, and except for a brief foray to the outside world to wrap gifts for the community Christmas hampers this morning, I have been staying quiet and cosy in my studio, saving J. from the sounds of my sneezing and coughing. I have all my Christmas sewing and knitting done, and I don't feel up to completing any of the major projects that are in waiting, so I have been playing.
Yesterday and today I started two projects, a Christmas apron for myself and an origami card ornament. I will show the latter in another post. This one is all about the apron.
When I visited Granville Island in October, I discovered where the Cloth Shop had moved. This is one of the last local quilt shops left in Vancouver, as online shopping has taken over the sale of quilting fabrics. I bought five fat quarters of beautiful Moda Christmas fabric, and only used a little of it to make my patchwork balls. I decided to use the remainder to make my apron.
I used this pattern:

I added my own embellishments to create this:

The pattern called for 1/2 inch binding. I made my own with a Clover bias tape binding maker, that created binding 1/4 inch wide. I started to apply it with the attachment from my old Singer, that I used on my new small Janome, but I finally realized that I was better just carefully sewing it on using my regular sewing foot. I am very pleased with the binding, and with the whole pretty apron.

Christmas Cranberry and Carrot Pudding Recipe

For Christmas Day dinner dessert I have a few traditional recipes that I make: bûche de noël, trifle, mince pie, or cranberry & carrot pudding It is time to decide as I need to shop for ingredients and plan the baking. I think this year I will make the cranberry & carrot pudding.

I copied this recipe, many years ago, from a magazine advertisement for Crisco, hence the recipe requirement for melted Crisco. I am sure that any neutral oil could be substituted, or melted butter. It was listed as a cake, and the baking time was 40 to 50 minutes. But I like it as a pudding, hence the shorter baking time.
The brown sugar sauce is my own addition, although I think it may originally have come from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

The page in my recipe binder.

Christmas Cranberry & Carrot Pudding Recipe
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup melted Crisco (or oil or melted butter)
2 eggs
grated rind and juice of one orange
Mix these ingredients together well. Do not use beaters or a whisk, as the grated rind gets all tangled and is hard to incorporate. I just mix it all thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
1 cup each shredded carrots and chopped cranberries (or leave whole)
and mix well.
Add the following dry ingredients and mix lightly until just combined
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon each baking powder and soda
1/2 teaspoon each salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Bake in a greased bundt or loaf pan at 350F. Check after 30 minutes as it should be just cooked through, but slightly under done is better than over baked, as a slightly pudding like aspect is desirable. It will continue to cook slightly as it cools.
When cool, invert it into a pretty heatproof dish that can contain some liquid. Cover and refrigerate for a day or two.
Make the Brown Sugar & Orange Sauce, and refrigerate for a day or two.
Put in a pot and just bring to the boil, then take off the heat and cool.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup raisins.

Before serving, take both pudding and sauce out of the fridge several hours ahead to bring to room temperature. Put the pudding in its dish into a warm oven to warm it up while dinner is happening. Heat the sauce, either in a pot or the microwave, and serve it hot on the side in a nice syrup jug. Make sure everyone has a dessert bowl and spoon and is ready for the presentation.
Heat 1/4 cup brandy slightly in the microwave, then pour it over the pudding at the table, stand back with your match, and flame it - ta da!
When the flames die down, serve the pudding and pass the sauce. And maybe some more brandy in wee glasses.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas images

Family parcels all ready to mail.

An accidental selfie while photographing the front hall display.

Our neighbour's homemade blackberry wine.

Waldorf toys ornaments made from wool roving - an angel and a swan.

Audrey's crocheted and starched star above and my tatted lace ornament below.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Little Lamb Softie

I am making this for my 3 1/2 year-old granddaughter.

The pattern from I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale

In process.

Done! Does she look happy or querulous? I was hoping for happy . . . 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas lights

Our Christmas tree.

Lights over the bookshelves in the hallway.
Oooh, Christmas is all about the lights. For us this is a secular holiday in the darkest month of a northern place, so we really are all about the lights and the baking. The bake element in the bottom of the oven self-destructed several days ago, so I was over at the studio all day today baking shorbread in the small oven that has not been used in years. It worked very well and the studio smells so nice and shortbready!

J. had the brilliant idea to put the small white lights around the mirror above the mantel. So beautiful!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Faire before visitors

Pics of the Quilters' display before the crowds arrive on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas gift making continues apace

More napkins, a hemmed scarf, and a felt ornament. These will be gifts for friends and family.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Quilting Monday

The Denman Island Quilters meet twice a month on a Monday. We had a great time today.
This a quilt the group has made to be raffled at the upcoming Craft Faire as a fundraiser for the Marine Stewardship Committee.

The back of the raffle quilt.

This is a collaborative quilt that D.C. and I have been working on together over the past year. D. put on the border, then backed and quilted the piece. She and I are very pleased with it!
Our quilting group meets in the United Church hall. I went next door into the sanctuary to see the Advent calendar that I made last year hung on the wall. What a pleasure.

I finished up the scrap Christmas stockings for the upcoming Craft Faire.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1st!

The first day of the darkest month of the year is a great one. JM put up the Christmas lights and I spent most of the day making scrap quilt Christmas stockings for the upcoming Craft Faire (photos of those pending). Walked over to see my neighbour who has thankfully survived carotid artery surgery - took her some dark chocolate covered almonds which have been recommended to her by her doctor along with red wine :-)

Listened to my favourite Christmas song of all time, Mincemeat Tart by Roy Forbes. Listen here  http://www.royforbes.ca/wma/tart3.mp3

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Every year at the Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire, the local community school raffles a basket of donated gifts. In past years I have made a tea cosy, a pair of knitted socks, and this year I made a set of napkins. There are different instructions on how to make mitered hems. I used this technique, with a 1/4 turn down, and then a 1 inch hem. They look very nice!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quilted floor covering

I finished what I was calling a throw, from the upholstery weight scraps of Pat M.'s handwoven Sri Lankan cotton. I really like the finished result, a lot more than I expected. But it is heavy and stiff, not cuddly for a throw. I think that it would make a great floor covering. I will take it to "show and tell" at Quilting Group on Monday, and see what they think. I will put it for sale at the Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire and donate the money to Marine Stewardship.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Child's Nordic Sweater finished!

I started this Nordic sweater last year for my grandson, then realized that it would be much too big for him, and my dicky left shoulder was rebelling against too much knitting. So I put it aside, and picked it up again this month.
I finished this morning with the sewing in of all the many ends from the numerous yarn colour changes.
I am very pleased with the result. In true Nordic sweater fashion, the front and back are the same, and I made sure that the neck is nice and loose (I accomplished this by using a three needle bind-off done loosely, instead of sewing down the folded over neckband, as that is too often tight). So a four-year old boy should be able to dress himself in it successfully, and in chilly Calgary, I think that he will like it.