Category Archives: Personal time

playing more with watercolours…

More morning glories – cause they are so pretty!

These are “Artist Trading Cards”  – so the size is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches and I cut a sheet of watercolour paper to play with these smaller scale pieces.

Version 1:

stoping now: added texture and highlights

Version 2:

Final version with highlights

Watercolour adventures….

Having started my holidays with a plan to try more arting, an online workshop happened to be guiding the painting of thistles 💖 in watercolour😎…

so here’s what that has resulted in….

Stylized Thistles in watercolour by TAV
Morning Glory 1 watercolour by TAV
Morning Glory 2 by TAV
Blue cornflowers in watercolour and acrylic by TAV

Gonna go do some crazy baking next!

Part of something bigger- a mosaic to inspire….

I saw the ad on Instagram. to be a part of a mosaic of tiles created by artistic all across Canada… go here to see it coming together : MURALMOSAIC

Yes, I paid to be part of this- and we pay for therapy, experiences and supplies to help focus our tension on something positive all the time.

I am very pleased with the art I created, and I have some friends who joined in the journey and contributed  their own creations…

yay art!

Once I received the kits, I then offered up the choices to my friends. Blue went quickly, and then I awoke at 4:30 am with a vision for the red, so I chose it, sending green off with the third artist!

Reel of my iPad procreate video

and then I painted this with the acrylic paints provided:

And then I felt like I wanted to do more…

So I found some 6 inch ceramic tiles and created a quartet…

Please note that the red tile is a rough reproduction of my original one for the Canada Mosaic Project…it’s proportions are not quite the same, but it works and it’s all good!


digital arting again….

Thanks to a quick response from the fabulous SM Carriere this morning, I decided to share this little quick clip and possibly start adding more arting clips to my YouTube channel!

When inspired, one must ART!

Digital drawings are a fun way to quickly create without getting messy… and I am grateful that I am able to afford and use the equipment I have for this  – I use it for business mainly, but it’s helping when I’m not as booked with sewing clients…

and previously this week I had shared this one on my insta of my furry Muse @SprocketMinPin….


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tracey Vibert (@tavalonia)

Sunrise May 7, 2021 by Tracey Vibert

Photography – a hobby…

…for now…?  I’ve been taking photos since I was an early teenager and even did a year as yearbook photographer. I think I have learned even more over the years since that training course, but there are some things that just feel natural and I love capturing moments with my phone by instinct!

Every morning I am blessed with a beautiful neighbourhood that I can safely walk through and avoid humans. #sociallydistant

and I share my photos on a few online spots – I need to get better organized – either sharing them here or even getting back to using my Flickr account where there’s no question about my copyright…< fb/insta are handy but still evil….> but it allows me to share with folk who seem to really enjoy seeing the world through my lens.

Here is a fan fave photo I shared this morning  – and folks re recommending I send it in to the local news – but I have not yet figured out how to do that, so hopefully one of them will let me know!

Anyway – here’s a local shot of the sunrise I took this morning May 7, 2021!

Sunrise May 7, 2021 by Tracey Vibert
From the Minto Bridge the view of the sunrise is always beautiful, this morning it was exceptional. Photo by Tracey A. Vibert

Hmmm…Appreciating the little things…

Gifts of this life… #memories #pastandpresent


If we had company coming over, this would greet them.  When we have company again, the display may have changed, so for now – welcome to a glimpse into my world….

A corner display of moments in time.

The larger dried flowers are from my wedding bouquet – 23 years soon…

The smaller dried flowers are from a floral arrangement brought by my high school BFF, Deb, to our 20th anniversary party – almost  3 years ago.

It sits in a tiny plastic skull, a gift from JKL or KBL – from the sis in law/ niece – if I am remembering correctly.

The skull is filled with loose pearls and beads – the foundation of my creative sewing life…

The mini paintings I made on the only creative visit I’ve had with my mother. It was a good day, a few years ago.

And the present… presents from two creative souls for my b-day this year – thanks Sonia and Dar for adding beauty to my world during these crazy times…

Appreciate whatever you can, folks…



Red Lentil and Sweet potato soup

Super easy!

FULL CREDIT: I was inspired by the recipe I saw on minimalist baker  .

I opted to simplify some things – but feel free to pop over and follow the recipe there

My version

  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Saute onion and celery in the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Once the onions are transparent, add your spices to let them warm up a bit – you can do your own thing for spices – these are what I have handy…

  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

then add

  • 2 sweet potatoes < medium size> – oven roasted , peeled and chopped. note:I had already done that – and I would likely micro wave them to bake them quickly if they were not already baked..
  • 60 grams dry weight red split lentils < I used my kitchen scale, not sure how much this is in cups>

and enough water to cover – I did not measure, but it was probably 3-4 cups – enough to make large bowls of soup for two.

Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low, let simmer until the lentils are soft – maybe 15-20 minutes. Once they are soft, puree the soup with an immersion blender – or however you puree soup!

I served with Whole wheat coconut scones, based on this recipe

I just used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose flour and replaced the whipping cream with coconut milk.

I had meant to go completely vegan – but I did in fact, use an egg  – but you should be able to sub whatever egg substitute you like….



Steamed Custard Buns…

For this recipe, I followed the one shared by Woks Of Life Here:

Cantonese Steamed Custard Buns (Nai Wong Bao)

And it was super easy and successful! In spite of the small size of steamers I had available to use….

4 sort of fit in the small steamer I have…
this single guy had more space int he larger set up in my larger pot… and the parchment is perfect for them to slide right off!
Steaming away – and so easy!

Holiday Baking adventures part 2 – the experiment!

I did some other regular/ repeat baking this past weekend during a virtual gathering with friends – and it was the BEST WAY to deal with an online gathering – I was. busy, I was doing stuff! Listening to our friends, some of whom we have not seen for months, and contributing in my own special snarky way as appropriate…

I made a small batch of each :

Chocolate cake cookie sandwiches< a variation made by using cake mix and reducing the water and filling them with more of my vegan Swiss buttercream as it is lasting quite nicely!>; Gingerbread cookies; standard chocolate chip cookies < be inspired – I added fireball whiskey to them>

And then, I returned to look at what I had intended to be a truffle mix, but it was too soft.  I had mixed cream cheese, icing sugar and added lemon juice and a tiny bit of vanilla, hoping  the icing sugar would be enough to have it set up and become a rollable ball – nope….I stuck it in the freezer until I have time to contemplate …

So this morning – Happy YULE – I decide a no bake cheese cake direction was a good way to go…

Lemon Truffle Cheesecakelets

Filling – can be used as a straight mousse if you prefer no crust 

  • 2  250g blocks of regular cream cheese – room temp
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream/whipping cream – cold

Cream the cheese, and add the icing sugar, mixing well. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Fold the lemon cheese mixture into the whipped cream gently, until it’s just mixed.

Set aside.

Crust: < I think you can use this in a springform pan as well, I just wanted to make minis so I could give them away easily..>

  •  1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips or Merkel’s pieces
  • 1½  cups unsweetened flaked coconut

Heat the cream in the microwave for 45 seconds or warm it on the stove.  Add the chocolate pieces and stir until melted. Add the coconut and stir well. Divide into 12 muffin cups – about 1 tablespoon each.

Using a flat bottomed glass that fits well, push down the coconut mix into the bottom of the cups with a gentle twisting motion – flattens it nicely and the twists away without the glass getting full of goo.

Fill each cup with the lemon cheesecake mixture and chill in the fridge for 6-12 hours.

YOU WILL HAVE LEFTOVER MOUSSE – pour it into some martini glasses, and stick a graham cracker in each  or make a smaller cheesecake in a separate pan using graham crackers on the bottom…your choice!


Holiday Baking adventures!

So many cookies! I was on a roll…
Some of these cookies are long time favourite recipes , some are experiments…

Some are vegan, some are not – but you can modify them yourself I’m sure to explore whatever dietary choices you prefer to make.

Some are gluten free, dairy free, and some are all the bad- er I mean good stuff…#nojudgement

Click through on the recipe links where I found my inspiration and support those bakers too!

Ginger bread Dinosaurs/ or are they cats… or both…

Ginger bread recipe is from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
The cutter I picked up at Ma Cuisine on Dalhousie street here in Ottawa.
And I used the spicy icing left over from my Wolfenoot cookie baking…

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

This gluten free cookie recipe was a variation on the recipe I found here. The change I made was to use half chick pea flour and half oat flour< I make my own by grinding oats in a coffee grinder>.
I would also recommend chilling the dough before baking- I did not, and the cookies spread out a lot!

Cherry shortbread

Based on the recipe I found here  – and these shortbread cookies melt in your mouth… I used vegan butter replacement, and otherwise followed it.
The dough is super soft when mixed, so chill it for at least 30 minutes before creating these melt in your mouth cookies! And be sure to drain the cherries, if you buy them in syrup.

Oatmeal Coconut choc chip cookie

Here’s the recipe – I choose to add coconut “and” chocolate chips – or sometimes all three!

Oat cookies from no name oatmeal bag

and these chocolate cookies are a family tradition 🎉….but I’m changing things up a bit…

Vegan Chocolate cookie sandwiches

Vegan chocolate cookies and Vegan Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting…

So this is a variation on one of my families traditions….these are amazing frozen when in their sandwich form ( stolen from the giant Tupperware container in the chest freezer…)

  • ½ cup vegan butter substitute
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg replacement*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup cocoa
  •  ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oat milk

*egg replacement options :  1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water or 1 tablespoon aqua faba < strained liquid from canned chick peas> or your own choice!

Cream the first 2 ingredients then add the next 2.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add, alternating with the oat milk, until you get your batter.

Drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet, flattening with wet fingers/ bottom of a glass, and bake for 7 minutes at 400Degrees F.
Cool completely and enjoy as is or fill with frosting to make sandwiches….

Vegan Swiss Buttercream frosting…

So I hybridized the original family recipe, which uses Marshmallow creme < I wasn’t going out to buy this>,  and this Aqaufaba Swiss Buttercream I found online which called for WAY TOO MUCH FAT – as in I had used all my vegan butter by this point in the day

  • 1 ¾ cup aquafaba ( strain the liquid from 1 or 2 cans of chick peas- measure it )
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco) softened/at room temperature.
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla

Mix aquafaba and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil for 5 minutes…stirring occasionally.
Take off heat, pour into mixing bowl and cool completely ( I put the bowl into the fridge for about 20 minutes.)
Once cool, start whipping the mixture at high speed. You can use a whisk attachment, I suggest not trying to do this by hand unless you have strong arms. It can take up to 15-20 minutes to get it to firm peaks with the machine doing the hard work…
Once you reach that stage, mix  together the cream of tartar and icing sugar, and gradually add that in, whipping it- whip it good…
Add the softened vegetable shortening ( I used Crisco) that is at room temperature, keep whipping to incorporate it fully and finally, add  the vanilla.

You will have leftover frosting- so feel free to halve the recipe…and it will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in a. tightly sealed container…