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.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate pudding

This makes an easy and delicious chocolate pudding, but I believe that it must be made with 18% cream. If you do not use at least whole milk (3.5% milk fat) then I wouldn't bother.

Chocolate Pudding Recipe
In a heavy pot mix 3 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (I use Bird's) or just plain cornstarch if you do not have custard powder, 3 tablespoons white sugar or substitute, and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (or more if you like it really chocolaty) and 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 tablespoon either instant coffee crystals or finely ground coffee grounds. The small amount of coffee intensifies the chocolate flavour, and the greater amount will give a mocha flavoured pudding.
Put 1/2 cup cream into the dry ingredients and gently stir with a wire whisk until it is all smooth and combined, which can take a few minutes to get the cocoa powder to create an emulsion with the cream.
Then add another 2 cups of cream, gently stir, and place on medium heat. Stir constantly until it comes to a gentle boil and becomes very thick. (You really have to stand there and stir or you will regret it if you pop off to answer the phone or whatever. Best to prop yourself with a magazine and just wait it out, stirring all the while.)
Take the pot off the heat and if you have used plain cornstarch, add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Put the pudding into 6 small dishes, and immediately cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down right against the top of the pudding so as to avoid a thick and nasty skin on the top of the puddings. This last step is a little fiddly, but is essential for a smooth and creamy pudding.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Whisking the pudding which is just coming to a boil.
It is now very thick and  at this point it was decanted into the ramekins.
The pudding in the ramekins. When you scrape out the last thick bits with a spatula it looks not so pretty, but the plastic wrap on top smooths things out by the time you eat it.

Plastic wrap scooshed down on the level with the pudding and ready to go in the fridge.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And now Spring is almost beginning!

Spent a week in Vancouver having PRK laser eye surgery.  Returned to find that the hellebores in the sunniest spot in the front garden are beginning to show their buds.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good weather for knitting

It finally turned into winter around here. It hailed on Sunday, big hailstones the size of chickpeas, and the hail has just stayed on the ground because is has not warmed up. It was supposed to snow today, but no sign.
Hail on the ground and the bridge deck.

My latest pair of Monkey socks knit from SweetGeorgia's yarn Tough Love Sock in colour Coal Harbour.

Pewter clasps from Deborah Gremlitz of Nordic Fiber Arts.

The lovely warm violet coloured sweater which is keeping me warm in this frosty weather.

Monday, January 16, 2012

House Tops Quilt Class #1

Today at quilting group we started Barb Mortell's House Tops Quilt class.






Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monkey socks in blue

Last spring I knit a pair of Cookie A.'s Monkey socks for my friend Pam's daughter, Taryn, in green sock wool. Then at Sock Summit 2011 in Portland I bought a copy of Cookie A.'s book Knit Sock Love and my goal for 2012 is to knit every sock in the book. I started out easy by making another pair of Monkeys, this time for myself, in SweetGeorgia's Tough Love sock yarn in colour way Coal Harbour.






Monday, January 9, 2012

Quilting Group

First meeting of quilting group in 2012, and some folks actually had time over the holidays to do some lovely work.





Sunday, January 8, 2012

More boxes

I made these during the past week, and worked the crochet covered rock. I am going to put the crochet covered rock into the larger box for a wedding present for D.F. whom I will see this coming Friday in New Westminster.


A new use for a 2011 calendar. The inside of the top and the bottom of the bottom.

The inside of the bottom and the top of the top.

The top. The angles are so beautiful.

A side view of the closed box.

Sunny Sunday morning in January

It is unseasonably warm this winter; the thermometer outside the kitchen window says 8C. The sun is shining and I tried to get the effect of the low rays on the water, and on the trunks and moss covered branches of the big leaf maples, but I don't know ...





Saturday, January 7, 2012

Folded paper boxes

I have spent the last four days in the studio folding paper into boxes - it is amazingly satisfying and I cannot seem to stop. I have also been using some of my sticker collection.

I have been using the model from this book:

Origami Card Craft: 30 Clever Cards and Envelopes to Fold

by Karen Elaine Thomas.
I also found this link which I will try tomorrow:
http://www.origami-instructions.com/modular-square-box-p1.html





Saturday

Morning is scrambled eggs from local chickens, and the evening includes a fire and the weekend newspaper.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Ferns and nurse logs

I love how ferns and honeysuckle bushes grow from stumps and fallen logs.

Here a cedar tree is starting life from this moss covered stump.

A piece of metal returning to the elements.

Honeysuckle growing from this stump.

This fallen log is covered in sword ferns.


A seasonal stream runs with all the recent rain.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Water, water, everywhere . . . .

Deep in nearby woods the water from last night's heavy rain forms a magical pool.
It flows under a bridge . . . 
. . .  and continues as a stream surrounded by sword ferns.
Where the stream meets the roadway the water collects  . . . 
. . . and flows under the road via a culvert. This culvert is due to be replaced tomorrow by the highways crew.
More water flows down our driveway . . .
. . . to join the stream now flowing between the next property and our own.
The stream enters our yard . . .
. . . and pools in the low lying area where the small foot bridge . . .
. . .  is completely submerged.
The stream narrows to flow under the arched bridge . . .
. . . and runs rapidly through on the other side.
It flows under the third foot bridge . . 
. . . and courses through under blackberry vines.
At last it comes near its end . . 
 . . . and with a last rush . . .
. . . it meets and joins the ocean.