Friday, October 30, 2009


And so it is, the second to last day of October. This month scurried by for me, and it always disturbs me how quickly the time passes. I'm afraid Halloween preparations didn't fill me with the usual excitement this year. I just felt too busy, too rushed, and I'm looking forward to some time spent at home so I don't feel like Christmas is going to get away from me.
Today My Favorite Boy and I had a Home Day. I really love those days, as long as we get to do something fun. The weather today is blustery and rainy and chilly; perfect for baking something warm, sweet and cosy in our pyjamas. I had lots of candy corn left over from my school party baking, so I used up the rest in these vanilla cookies. Oh my they are good! There is a chocolate version as well, but the two batches I made got snarfelled up by a kindergarten class and the residents of this Crafty World.
I had an idea to make a chocolate cake or brownies and sprinkle Reese's Pieces on it before baking. I found a one-bowl chocolate cake recipe, so with the assistance of my little helper, we made this cake. I am a bit disappointed that the candy pieces came apart while baking, but it still looks kind of Halloween-y/harvest like I think?
It's cooling as I speak, so I can't report on how it turned out. However, can a chocolate-peanut butter anything turn out wrong?
I left the kids to their own devices this year in terms of costumes. I felt a smidge guilty, but when I see the dress up box with some pretty cracking articles in it I'm OK with my decision.
Because today was more relaxed I decided to sew something small; something for Halloween; and came up with this:

I think Our Favorite Girl will be happy. I'm happy to have gotten some sewing therapy in, so it's good all around.

Tomorrow it's back to work cleaning house and moving furniture around. Sometime last week I figured it would be a good idea to have a party after the kids return from trick-or-treating. At this point I just might move every non-essential item against the wall and deal with it after the party!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I have composed so many blog posts in my head that it was a bit of a shocker to see I haven't done an actual on in almost three weeks! What have I been doing? Well ,nothing too great or exciting, just life in general.

Fall has changed from it's gorgeous colors to the final grey and brown. It was so cold here for two weeks that we were all convinced we would have snow before Halloween. Thankfully this week has perked up weather-wise, and we might just get away with fall jackets underneath our costumes as opposed to full out winter gear over top.

I was able to take advantage of a sunny afternoon and do some sewing. I have been wanting to make a patchwork valance for the bathroom the kids use most often, and this is what I came up with:

You can see what I mean about grey days as this is the best picture I could get. I wanted colors to coordinate with the shower curtain.
I desperately wanted to put some jumbo white ric-rac on the bottom, but figured it would only be a pain to iron every time I washed it. As I was putting the valance up I realized that in the 70's I had a bedspread that looked like it was made up of patchwork, very similar to what I made, and that it had white ric-rac printed on it. I guess I must have subconsciously tapped into some happy, 1970's memory and that's where the desire came from!
We recently had this bathroom re-done (new floors, tub, toilet and sink), but left the vanity intact. It's a good height for the kids, and to replace a vanity of this size would have cost a pretty penny. I didn't like the vintage '80s melamine cabinets with the oak strip on top, so I did a bit of a thrifty re-do.
I have been reading a few blog posts about beadboard wallpaper, and decided I would try it out. It was certainly cheaper and much easier than installing real beadboard, and the upshot is it's easily removable. So the wallpaper and the knobs cost less than 30 dollars, and I think it looks great. Much fresher and up to date anyway. I still have tons of wallpaper left, so I have been walking around with a critical eye to see what else could use a beadboard treatment...

We have also been on a quick trip to Montreal to aquire some furniture from my down-sizing mother in law. We came home with a pick-up truck loaded down like the Clampets. All we were missing was the rocking chair and Granny. My house is chaos at the moment with furniture in all sorts of places waiting to find the right home. I will show you this though:

Totally useless except to display all my old lady treasures. I didn't notice the squirrel on top until now. I'm not quite sure how My Favorite Boy got him up there, but I guess he thought it was the perfect spot for him!
Reason number 156 Why I Love My Kids: They sat in the car for 6 hours; had nothing to do while we loaded and moved furniture for two days, then sat in the car for another 7 hours to get home. That includes the hour we had to pull off the side of the road and re-tie all the furniture down because the tarp was blowing off. All this without complaining. They are amazing.
Lastly, I did have a bit of luck at the thrift store the other day. I needed a tall-ish table lamp for our living room, and thought I would check out second had first. I saw this lamp, sans shade, for $6. I didn't want to pay that much, so left. Later on I'm at Home Sense to look for something else, when I see all these crystal lamps there, and the exact same one I saw at Value Village. Price? $60!!! So you would be right in assuming that I high-tailed it back to the thrift store and shelled out the $6 for this one. The only difference is that mine is an older one, because it doesn't have a polarized plug. Even if I have to re-wire it, I am totally ahead of the game.

On that note it's time I went through my email that's been filling up my inbox for three weeks. Have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. It couldn't have been more fall-like with its (finally!) clear skies, crisp air and turning leaves. The maples are really putting on a show this year, more so than the last two years. Being a prairie girl I am not used to seeing such variety in color. I must look like a kid when I go outside, as I'm always ooh-ing and ah-ing over the leaves and picking them up to press. Even My Favorite Boy has gotten over the thrill of finding colored maple leaves on our walk to school, but not his mummy! I turned my leaf bounty into a mantle garland, with very lovely results I think:

I found myself humming "O Canada" a lot while I was crafting away!

This year we were finally able to go apple picking. Myself and the kids have never been before, and it's been a very long time for Mr. Crafty World. It was great fun, and we will definitly do it again next year. We'll watch for the time when the Russets are ready, because those are our favorites. They are all gone at this point, but there were still many varieties to pick from.

I put what we picked in a basket in the family room. Perhaps not the most practical place, but they sure look and smell good.

The fresh air really put me in the mood to bake something. You would think it would have someting to do with apples right? Well, not that day! I made pumpkin pie, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, and I tried my hand at baked pumpkin doughnuts:

I can see there is room for improvement in the recipe, but no one around here complained.
While the kids were playing in the yard they found these caterpillars, named Fuzzy and Fluffy respectively:

My Favorite Girl kept hers overnight and then let him go in the morning to be with his family. While a noble idea, she cried until she turned all spotty because she misses Fuzzy so much. We have yet to come up with a crafty replacement for him.
Of course, we had our Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings, all cooked by Mr. Crafty World himself. It was deeeeeelicious.

It was a weekend full of things to be thankful for, that's for sure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sitting Pretty

I completed two 'transformations' this week. You will remember this chair:

Now it looks like this:

I was undecided whether to paint it blue or white. I really, really wanted to paint it blue, but found myself waffling at the hardware store. I had the white in my hand, then I asked My Favorite Boy what color I should buy. He said "blue", and I happily changed my mind. I am very happy I did. I made a patchwork cushion cover with two Ikea pillowcases. This is probably as close as I'll get to Cath Kidston yardage, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

I love the blue print on it's own, so I made the other side of the cushion with just the blue fabric.

It looks nice next to the window doesn't it? To bad it's going to be relegated to my basement craft area! Oh well, the next house will have an above ground, sunny sewing room! One thing with us, there's always a "next" house.

I don't remember if I ever showed you this:

I picked it up early in the summer. I think it was seven or ten dollars. I had planned on painting it creamy white, but once I got the varnish stripped off I liked the wood. From a scratchy, cat hair covered bench to this:

I am head over heels in love with this lilac print fabric. I wish I had taken a better close-up. It's what I would have used for the wicker chair if I had painted it white. It's a lovely heavy cotton, one of those fabrics I would have balked at buying new due to the price. However, like always, I picked it up at Value Village for a good price. It was a balloon curtain, and there is a ton of it left. I'm sure you will be seeing it in other projects!

What's next on my sewing agenda? I'm not totally sure, but I did get a new book the other day that has loads of inspiration. I still have that over-flowing In-Box to contend with as well!

Until next time, have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Odds and Ends

I have had a blissful two days sewing and crafting. I think I finally got over my sewing inertia and can finally complete a few projects that have been languishing in my inbox, or start some new ones that have been brewing in my brain.

My first finish has been in the works for over a year now. I picked up a calendar frame last year at Goodwill, and lo and behold my calendars didn't fit in it. I liked the carved flowers at the top, and wanted to use it for something else, but it took me a few weeks to figure out what. Once I decided, I had to paint the frame, leave it in the garage for 8 months; put on a second coat; decide what fabric to use; how to incorporate my cross stitch that wasn't quite wide enough.... A year later here it is:
What the heck is it you ask? It's my new jewelry holder. I currently don't have a safe spot for my china posey pins or necklaces and bracelets. Now I can see my pretty pins and my other stuff, and my pins aren't getting chipped. I used up some toile fabric that I have had for a very long time, which coincidentally goes very well with my silk cross stitch. Really it's a pretty dust collector, but I am happy, happy, happy.

At my last dance class they were giving out water bottles. I wanted to sew something small and quick, so I made this water bottle holder with some left-over toile from the jewelry holder. I am very happy with how it turned out. Now I don't have to carry it in my hand when I'm out walking.

My Favorite Girl takes dance at the same studio, so she got a water bottle too. She liked my holder, so I made one for her. My Favorite Boy couldn't be left out, so he got one as well. He carried it around all day yesterday, much to Mr. Crafty World's dismay. He doesn't think water bottle carriers are as cool as we do. I think he might just get one in his Christmas stocking...

I spent most of the day yesterday making pillow covers for our couch. I'm not very technically minded so it's no lie when I say it took me most of the day! Anyway they're done, and today I get to move on to something different. This is the first day in a very long time that I have the house to myself. No kids, no houseguest, and no contractors. I had a big smile on my face when I came home from dropping MFB off at school. It's nice to have my house be mine again. I'm just going to ignore the mess upstairs and play at my sewing machine.
Have a blissful day!

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