Thursday, December 30, 2010

Textural Nursery Begins To Form Again

The Textural Nursery
This nursery isn't just created for someone that's stuck on colour schemes or themes.  It's the basis for creating a purposefully functional space for a blind parent and their family. Many of the things here will help others whom find out suddenly babies do not belong in the same sentence as organized, predictable or simple.
This is the beginning of the Textural Nursery.  Created in AutoCAD 2011 Student Edition and edited within Photoshop into a .jpg.

This simple floor plan is the beginning of my work to try and explain the needs of a blind parent so that they can independantly look after their baby as well as looking good for those sighted that enter it.  Most families aren't all blind or disabled, so thinking of the others involved is always needed.

I used an old Ikea Bookcase/Shelving unit to store baby supplies as the baby was 11 weeks premature and coming home a month before the mother's due date. Their funding to create a nursery was not ready for them.  This unit is in the corner of the window across from the twin bed.  On the shelving are various sized and shapes baskets that are made from different types of reeds and grasses.  Each basket has a purpose.  Why is this? Many baby products are found in identical bottle shapes so they are marked with various raised sticky items.  But these can be lost or loose and become dangerous to a baby if they come off.  To correct this issue we used a basket to hold items for a specific purpose.  You can go to the bookcase and remove a basket with all the diapering items that are needed, another under the change table holds diapers, another basket under the change table holds dirty laundry.  The drawers hold clothing, sleepers in the top draw, shirts in the second, pants in the third, the last held extra baby blankets and burp cloths. 

Yet more baskets would hold bathing supplies. Socks and hats in another basket.  Medical things like thermometer, baby nail clippers, baby Tylenol drops, and gripe water. 

Everything is neatly out of sight, but organized for easy access with or without sight.  They found that when  a pair of dirty socks or other small items of clothing were taken off, it was easier to do laundry if they were added to a lingerie bag that zips up.  Across the closet hanging on the wall was a diaper bag which we used to hold the lingerie bag and extra diaper cream.

Above the crib is a small light that would not wake the baby, but give a sighted person enough light to change a diaper or check on the baby.

The twin bed worked great when the baby was sick, a person could nap and keep an eye on them.  Later the bed became a place to store extra bedding, too large clothes, out of season clothing and the baby can use it.

Toys to distract the baby were in the diaper bag and there were teddy bears on the shelf with the lamp above the crib for baby to look at.  The lamp was actually attached to the wall so that it could not fall into the crib or be accidentally knocked over.

Concerns with baby blankets within the crib were quickly ended with a simple fitted sheet and a sleeping bag.  It's a bag that has a zipper down the front, arm holes and an opening for the baby's head.  The come in different sizes so that they will always fit the your baby.

Most of this is common sense, but it adds up to a lot of pleasure and happiness that might not exist without it's help.

The twin bed they already had and has four drawers which held bedding and clothing that had been given to them that was far too large when they recieved it.  Later they will be large enough to hold the baby's clothing.

The crib was put together without the wheels so that it wouldn't "get away" on the blind parent. Note: Canadian cribs are no longer allowed to have pull down sides.  The blind parent found the pull down sides difficult to use and the crib was left with the side up, however the crib did change into a child's bed so that they could transition the child to the twin bed over time.  This helped with crib withdrawal.

They even found a diaper service that allowed them to use cloth diapers without a single diaper pin ever entering the house.  They found fewer diaper rashes with the cloth diapers than disposable diapers. They also found that the diaper service worked right up to the end of diaper training and at least the first year was cheaper per month than disposable diapers.  This was an important decision to them as they were finanically limited while trying to work out problems with their finanical assistance as no one expected such a sudden arrival.

As you can see the closet, in it was kept a night stand which they used to hold extra diapers and they kept the stroller there.  Note: For the blind parent they found a bar style handle on the stroller made it easier to walk together as the blind parent could follow by holding the handle also.  They went through three strollers until they worked out what they needed.  Large wheels for winter, bar handle with two drink holders (never put hot drinks on a stroller if they tip the child could be hurt),  a large storage area to help hold baby's things and medications for the blind parent.

Note: Have a space to house duplicates of favorite toys so that they are easy to switch out for easy cleaning often. (Favorite toys get dirty and harbour germs, babies often chew on them, if you don't switch them out often enough the baby may not accept the "other" favorite toy.) 

Feeding the baby was interesting as the blind parent did want to help.  When they had to use bottles, they would wash up the bottles and put them in the mircowave to serilize. They didn't have access to a dishwasher.(Note: not all dishwashers get hot enough to sterilize.) Boiling the bottles would not be a practical idea for the blind parent.  Microwave sterilization was the most practical for them.

Two plastic containers were used to house washed versus sterilized bottle pieces.  They would wash these out every day with soap and hot water. There were problems with this system when people from outside the family came in to help.  The government was trying to help by providing paid help for them, however, it was expressed to me that these people were unsure how to help and often mixed up their system causing confusion and second guessing what was where.

If someone is to come into the home, have a written system for them and if the help doesn't work for your don't worry about ending it.  This stress made it difficult for the new family to function easily.

For now this is it.  I'll draw a few perspectives of the nursery so that colour schemes and theme can be seen and post them later.

Happy New Year One and All

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Christmas/Boxing Day Miracle

We had an excellent surprise this morning when we found an extra deposit from the Provencial Government which just happened to be enough to replace the only camera we had that was broken just before Christmas Eve.

This meant that I got a camera to catch the last of our family's festivities that we can make. 

I'll be able to continue posting my portfolio on behance too.  I'll have a camera to use for school too. 

Yeah!!!  I love to take my own photos of things I find that inspire me.  So keep posted on what's going on. 

Monday I'll start the documentation about the Textural Nursery and begin posting about it by Wednesday. 

My camera should be safe now also, because my son Ben got his first camera.  I'm trying to figure out how to use his camera to save some of his photos and accidentally lost a few photos.  Thank goodness it's no hard ship for Ben.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Turley Christmas Baking

Well this is a post on the work that's been taken me away from organizing my portfolio, etc.

Here's a simple plate from left to right, Butterscotch Squares, Gingerbread (Grandma's), Traditional Short Bread, and Rocky Road Squares

My traditional soft ginger bread in the making.

Homemade ginger bread Christmas Trees, my version.

Grandma claims to use the same recipe as I do, so I'm not sure why hers is thin and crispy, while mine are fluffy and soft.

Most of these recipes come from my mother's old recipe cards.  My grandmother couldn't cook or bake if her life depended on it, she fried everything when she cooked and she never baked.  My mother learned to bake at school and then from trial and error with recipes.  I vaguely remember her using alot of Kraft Recipes so the squares may be found on the Kraft Recipe site.  I know that the recipe she used for short bread actually came from a Club House Recipe years ago.

I'm going to post a recipe for a dessert that my mother called, "Strawberry Dessert" I know it comes from Kraft because everything that is used is from Kraft.  The recipe is so old that Cool Whip didn't exist when it was first printed.  I've seen this recipe with Cool Whip and have tried it.   I prefer real whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries though.

This is a perfect dessert for after a heavy meal as it's light, but rich enough in taste not to fall flat after a great meal.

Strawberry Dessert

1 fresh angel food cake torn up (don't use stale stuff in this recipe)
1 pound fresh or frozen(drained) strawberries
1 pkg of strawberry jello(sugar-free works too
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbl sugar or splenda

Step 1: Take jello powder and add it to 1 1/2 cups HOT water. (Do not follow jello directions. Add no cold water.)  Place in refridgerator. Do not let jello solidify.  It is needed as it's beginning to thicken.

Step 2: Whip 2 cups whipping cream until stiff.

Step 3: You will know when the jello is thick enough as a small amount sticks to the side of the bowl.  While you wait, in a serving dish add a layer of angel food cake and then a layer of randomly placed strawberries.

Step 4: When jello is ready fold it into the whipped cream and a layer of it.  Repeat layers until serving bowl is full.  I often have left over angel food cake.

Step 5: Chill for 1 to 2 days.

Step 6: Before serving whip the 1/2 cup of whipping cream until stiff, add vanilla and sugar. 

Step 7: Decorate dish with whipped cream and add decorations (Strawberry slices, Chocolate Chips, Chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, sprinkles, nuts.  Really whatever you believe will work for the crowd you're serving.)

Step 8: Serve and enjoy.  This recipe even has picky eaters coming back for seconds.

Note: Now with all the jello flavours on the market, you can play with the fruit also.  Try to stay with berries or fruit that stays firm over time.  This recipe does freeze also for short periods of time.  But I don't recommend doing this though, sometimes the jello will divide from the whipping cream if it's not set properly.

Butterscotch Squares

1 cup Peanut Butter
2 tbl Margarine/Butter
1 cup Butterscotch Chips
2 cups Mini Marshmallows
1/4 cup Crushed Salted Peanuts

In a double boiler, melt Margarine, Peanut Butter, and Butterscotch Chips until smooth.  Combine Peanuts. Add Marshmallows and stir constantly until the marshmallows have melted and combined.  Take off heat and tip into an 8" x 8" baking pan, use back of a spoon or fork and press firmly into pan.  Refrigerate over night.  Cut into squares.

Traditional Gingerbread Cookies

Recipe from contributed by Joyce Johnson

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 large egg
1 cup molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp warm water
1/4 cup raisins for decorating

1. In large bowl, cream shortening, sugar, egg and warmed molasses.  Dissolve baking soda in warm water and add to egg mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in flour, spices and salt until well blended.  Cover and chill for 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease cookie sheets.  Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch on a floured surface.  Cut out gingerbread men using cookie cutters and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Use raisins to make eyes, noses and buttons.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm.  Let cool on wire racks.

Short Bread Cookies

4 1/2 cups Flour (Best results use  Blending Flour that's commonly used to make gravy.)
2 1/2 cups Butter (Don't use margarine here, it's just horrid.)
1/4 cup Rice Flour
1/4 cup Quick Dissolve (Fruit) Sugar or Splenda
1 tsp Vanilla

Bring butter to room temperature and blend until smooth.  Combine sugar, rice flour, and vanilla.  Slowly add flour.  Work the dough as little as possible, it's crumbly and you may need the warmth of your hands to soften the butter further for the dough to combine properly.  Decorate cookies as you like, if using decorative sugars, sprinkles, raisins, or chocolate chips decorate before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Altitude and your stove type will affect the baking time.  Watch for the bottoms of the cookies to begin to lightly brown and then remove from stove and place baking racks to cool.

Rocky Road Cookies

10 Graham wafers
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Margarine
1 Large Egg
1 cup Icing Sugar
2 cups Mini Marshmallows
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

Line an 8" x 8" square baking pan with graham wafers, cutting to fit pan.  Combine chocolate chips, margarine and egg in sauce pan.  Stir over medium heat until melted & smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in icing sugar. Cool slightly.  Stir in marshmallows.  Spread evenly over wafers in pan.  Sprinkle with nuts, press down gently.  Chill until firm.  Cut into bars.  Store, covered in the refrigerator. Makes about 20 bars.

I hope some of you will try these recipes and enjoy them.  I know they aren't chef worthy, but they are home baked worthy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Disaster Camera is Now Broken

Well baking is over, but in the process of photographing some of my baking so there are pictures for my recipe post.  Ben decided he wanted the camera and dropped it on the floor.  Now the battery section won't close so I'm keeping it shut with duct tape.  Yes, every Canadian has a roll of duct tape somewhere in the house.

Now it's too late to get a new camera for Christmas or Boxing Day.  So my portfolio is going to have to wait to get published fully to the net.  I am so disappointed.

I need the camera for my school work and my portfolio presentation so I'm just hoping the camera still functions as I need it to.

I'm going to make sure my mother-in-law brings her camera to the dinner and lunch so we at least have some family photos.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the Season for Breaking Furniture

It's offical my son is getting a chair for Christmas.  Ben decided he was going to jump into Daddy's lap and we hear a rather large spring break.  So it's off to Ikea for me to replace it until we can decide on a new living room set.

I'm going to take the time to replace the missing dining room chair so that we have enough seating for everyone at Christmas Dinner.  Or it will look very odd.

Season's Greeting to All and I hope your holidays are full of joyful surprises.

Warm and welcoming. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life bites back and marks begin coming in.

My son has given me something so I'm off to the doctor to see if there's something he can do for me. 

I've got half my grades in now and that includes the one I was worried about.  I got a B in it, so it won't take me off the Honour Roll.  I wish that being on the honour roll meant something in the real world.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Portfolio Creation

I've just found I can post my portfolio on my linked in profile.  I'm now organizing photos by project and posting them as I go. Keep a look out on twitter and facebook for each new project posting.

I'd love to get a critique on it all as it goes up so that I can adjust it so that it's more effective. 

Tonight I'm going to try to finish my baking, but I'm probably looking at too much to do so I'll have to finish it tomorrow night.

I'll get the furniture moved (have have to) tonight and decorate tomorrow also.  So working on the portfolio and logos until Monday night.

However, I did get the LinkedIn book read on Friday on the trip to and from my final exam.

Is it me or am I finally a Type "A" personality?  I did take time out today to make popcorn and cranberry strings with my son, so I'm hoping he won't suffer from my attempts to get things done on time with time to actually spare for the actual holidays.

We've decided that it would make sense to move my desk and a few things from a corner for the tree this year.  It's an adventure every year to figure out where the tree and moved furniture will go so that there are safe paths for my husband and my son can't destroy other things during the holiday season that he normally can't get his hands on.

It's had me thinking that when you decorate any home, shouldn't all seasons play a part in the way the space is layed out?  Where does the tree go?  Will there be a tree at all? Does your client wish to reuse old decorations, family keepsakes and such that are season specific?  I know that I have decorations that date back to my childhood and I have others that date back to my first Christmas with my husband.  All have memories and I'm sorry they just DON'T fit into today's colour schemes.

My mother believed in more colours, more lights, and yet more plastic and fake things.  While making the popcorn chains with my son I had memories of my mother owning a plastic popcorn chain.  It makes me all the more sensitive to how our ways to living is changing to accept more environmentally sound ways of living.

I don't wrap stocking stuffers, yet my mother spent hours and hours carefully wrapping every little thing that would go into every stocking.  I'd rather add a few extra stocking stuffers that someone could use than killing a tree so it can just be torn apart.  We have stockings and bags to house the small gifts, and because we don't have a fireplace we hang garlands from a large fan that hangs above our sofa and use clear 3M hooks to hold the stockings until Christmas Eve.

I grew up in a home with no fireplace and we didn't bring out the stockings until Christmas Eve when they were stuffed.  I always felt that we lost those icons of Christmas that way, so every year now I make a point of hanging the stockings the weekend before Christmas....I'm running out of weekend and I can't get my son to sleep he keeps coming out of his room and so, getting the tree and decorations will have to be added to the list of things to do tomorrow.

Perhaps, Grandma can take my son for a couple of hours as I hunt down all the boxes and figure out how to put up the Christmas Tree again.  One of the cats tore up the instructions years ago because someone spilt peppermint tea on it...long story.  Let's just say 3 out of 10 cats react to peppermint like all the others react to catnip...and I have one....sigh...I miss peppermint tea.

I honestly don't know how I'm going to get everything done with my son home all day now.  He's just a ball of energy that if he's not directed will be come a power of destruction.  I am trying to think of ways of including him in Christmas preparations however, with his ASD (Autism) you think he understands something, when infact he's not taken anything in.  This can be dangerous.  So when you decorate or with people like my son, one has to take into account that no matter how many times you tell them not to do something, they will still do it the first time your back is turned.  I love him dearly but I fear for him also.

We've taken to having no alcohol in the house, medication is always taken in a room he's not in and hidden behind closed doors he can't reach.  I'm getting tired.  Maybe, I'll sqeeze in measuring Ben's room so I can input the information into AutoCAD next week.  Until later.
ok, I now have a ping service set up but I'm not sure if I'm happy with it or not.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I must be evil. School's almost over and Christmas To-Do List is long.

Hubby's down with a cold and son is getting one.  I'm off to the grocery store to get the ingredients for all my Christmas Baking.  I'll take photos and post the recipes in my next post.  I'm still having problems with coming up with possible logos.  I actually need it for next semester even though I don't think I'll break out on my own right away.

I believe I will make this year, rockyroad squares, butterscotch/peanut butter squares, traditional gingerbread and old fashioned Scottish Style Shortbread.  I'll make an Apple Crisp Pie for dessert on Christmas Eve.  I make everything right down to the cranberry sauce from scratch so that I can minimize the sugar content of Christmas Dinner for the diabetics that end up at my table.  There's 2-3 every year.

I make my treats as gifts for people like my superintendent, housekeeper, paper delivery person, etc.  I also keep more frozen with a little in the refridgerator incase friends or family drop in unexpected.  Actually, it's more expected that they will give at most a 30 minute heads up as they get off the highway.  So, there's no way to say, no politely, got to love them.

I've got a rehab appointment at noon and then shopping.  Then finally I'll wrap up the bugaboo (means a small goblin with a mischievious nature) and take him to see Santa.  I just hope today will be a good day for him.  Some days his ASD rears it's head more than others.  It will be a nightmare if it does with his father being so grumpy from his cold.

I just got a package with a book in it, "Photoshop Elements for Dummies".  My hubby actually ordered it for me and it showed up the same day as I handed in my assignment that I needed it for.  "Isn't it ironic?"

So now I have lots to do over the Christmas and New Year's Holiday.  I want to post some ideas for Logos, re-create our textural Nursery, catch up on reading my magazines, brush up on AutoCAD and learn more about Photoshop.  All around decorating, baking, present shopping, wrapping, entertaining and the great clean up before and afterwards. 

Sigh...I am too much of an 'A' type personality.  I will make it clear now that if I can get half of all that done I will be happy. I promise myself not to beat myself up for not finishing it all.

Prediction, Hubby and son's cold will be gone for Christmas and I'll be flat on my back with it.  It always happens like that.  Season's Greetings Everyone.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Len Davis Artist

I've been approached by an Artist called Len Davis.  I just took a look at his art on his site, it's really interesting stuff.  Real introspective are with an inner city flair.
He's shown his work in many museums and even done work for the GAP (RED) artist series.
Hope you all enjoy!