Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Scarf and Patriotic Pinwheels

Despite running hither and yon this weekend for soccor games, I was able to partake in some lovely little crafty/sewing distractions.  After the first day of games - in which we got good and drenched while watching in the rain - I holed myself up downstairs and made this summer scarf.  You can find an excellent tutorial at this website called made.  I discovered this site not too long ago and it has become one of my favorites.
My scarf is a bit too long, so I will be lopping it off shortly by about 8-12 inches.  I think the shorter end you see here should be the longest end.  I used a crinkly, light cotton I bought in the remnant bin at Fabricland and it's been sitting around waiting to be put to use.  This project uses elastic thread, which I have never tried before, and I love how it turned a long strip of fabric into a swirly, ruffly blue waterfall of  a scarf.  The weather has been totally up and down here lately, so I think there will be an opportunity to wear it on a not-to-hot, not-to-cold day soon.
My next bit of fun came after seeing these Liberty Pinwheel brooches crafted by Betz White.  I have been looking for something different to make for Canada Day and I felt these were perfect.  I made the kids appliqued t-shirts last year, and wanted something for myself.  There isn't much in the stores except the usual, and I don't want to attend the parade in a t-shirt that says "Canada Kicks Ass."  It' just not me! I ended up making 8 pinwheels from red and white felt and maple leaf fabric.  Three I made into brooches:

They can be worn on either hats or t-shirts:

The remaining five I left without ribbons and for now they are adding a bit of patriotic color to my front door:

I thought perhaps they might look nice with some red and white bunting, but I think that will be my project for next year.
Have a lovely day!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 5 of Simple Pleasures

Today I made blueberry jam.  I didn't have much luck last year with my cherry jam, so I was a little worried, but it seems to be OK.  All the jars sealed and the jam firmed up nicely.  The blueberries are from Florida, but they were very sweet so I thought I would give it a go.  Now I have my confidence back so when local blueberries are ready I'll be ready too.

A completely unexpected simple pleasure today was learning that the fragrant tree in our front yard is actually a linden tree.  I have read about these trees for years and wondered what they looked/smelled like.  For the last three years I have had a huge one in my yard and didn't even know it!   A neighbor informed me that the blossoms are good to make tea with, so I picked a large basket-ful to dry.  

My kids are playing soccor all weekend.  All weekend.  I'm not sure how much in love with that I am.  Probably less than 50%, but there's no way around it unless it pours down rain.  
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Simple Pleasures

I decided to join Felicity's "Simple Pleasures Challenge".  Of course after I did I realized that ideally I should post everyday, in the spirit of the challenge.  However, I know I won't post everyday, but I am still going to enjoy a simple pleasure everyday - you'll just have to take my word for it.  But don't worry, I'm very good to myself in case in you haven't noticed :)
Just to catch up, a few simple pleasures I have enjoyed over the last few days:

Finding a few pretties on my Tuesday thrifting adventure.

Watching a period drama chick-flick mini series with no male influence around to scoff or feign interest.  I stayed up late to watch the final two episodes and went to bed with a dreamy smile on my face. I just love a good romance.  *Sigh*  Then I got the book from the library to get the whole story....

Catching up on some reading.  I really love the UK Country Living magazine.  The photographs are fantastic.
I was a little irked with a story in the May issue though, when a woman (English, moved to Canada 10 years ago with husband ) whose apartment they were showcasing claimed that "No one in Canada would put plates on the wall - it's a very CL (Country Living) idea!"  Who knew we were so clueless when it comes to stuff like that?

And finally, baking an old-fashioned dessert in an old-fashioned apron.  This bread pudding is made with dried apricots and is very good.  Although, I think this is the first bread pudding I have ever eaten so I don't have any comparison to make.  It tasted good though, and the kids don't like it so it's up to me to eat it :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Homemade Lollipops

I had such a great weekend: we didn't have to be anywhere and spent the time on playdates, at the library and home.  The weather was just gorgeous so the kids played outside most of the time, and I just read.  I read two novels, which is something I have not done with such immersion (?) since my first baby was, well, a baby.  I'm paying for it today with extremely sore eyes, but I would do it again if I could in a heartbeat.  
So I'm sure you realize that by reading two novels over two days my kids did not get much attention from me.  They are very, very good children - a fact that I am grateful for every single day - and such behavior (though common around here) does not go un-rewarded.  I was looking for something in the basement when I came across a recipe I tried a few years ago for hard lollipops made with Jello powder and.  I knew they would be tickled to eat them, and a little surprised that they would really just appear out of nowhere.  It's a fun kind of thing to do, but you must be quick in order to get all the candy out of the pan in time.  The little bit of stress in the end is worth every bit, because the lollys are ready to eat about ten minutes after that.  Then you can get back to your book....

For this recipe you will need:

Two cookie sheets covered with parchment paper
20 or so 4 inch lollipop sticks
candy thermometer
metal spoon
heavy bottomed saucepan

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 small box flavored gelatin powder ( I used peach)

Arrange lollipop sticks on parchment covered baking sheets.  I used ten per sheet, but in the end I did not end up with 20 lollipops.  I just wanted to make sure  I had enough at the beginning so I wouldn't be scrambling when I had hot candy on the go.
Stir the sugar, corn syrup and butter in the saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly bring it to a boil, stirring frequently.  Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
Continue cooking and stirring until the temperature reads 275 degrees F.

When your mixture has come to the correct temperature, stir in the gelatin powder. 

You have to stir it for a couple of minutes to completely dissolve the gelatin.  The first time I made these I didn't stir long enough, and you could feel the little gelatin granules on your tongue.  They tasted just fine, but I  wanted to see if I could do better this time.
Now, here's the part where you need to work quickly.  Take your pot to where your baking trays are and start spooning out the hot candy over the tops of the lollipop sticks.  It's going to be a little messy and you will not have perfect circles.  The other important thing to remember is not to get any candy on you.  It's hot!!  And if you do happen to get a bit on your finger, for heaven's sake don't put that finger in your mouth.  I'm speaking from experience here.

I didn't end up with 20 lollipops before the mixture got too hard to spoon out, but I got most of it, and certainly enough to keep the kids in sweets for the next few days.  
You have to let them cool for a bit, but probably only about ten minutes or so.  The kids are really keen to try a home made lollipop - it's not something you see everyday.  They won't taste like any lollipop you can buy either.  If you have ever tasted/made something called butter crunch, this is what these taste like.  You notice the butter first, then the gelatin flavor.   The texture is somewhere between hard and slightly crumbly if that makes any sense.  Actually the inside of a Skor bar would be the best comparison.   They are good: I have enjoyed a few myself since I made them:)

Oh, and the best way to get any hardened candy off of your pan is to fill it with water and bring it to a boil; or put it in a dishwasher with really hot water.  The candy just melts and then you can pour the liquid down the drain.  This will save you lots of scrubbing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Teacher Gifts

This would be a first for me, being that I won't be sewing late into the night the night before the last day of school!  I'm kind of a procrastinator...
Last year I gave potted flowers as teacher gifts.  I really liked the idea, but wanted to do something different this year.  I chose to make quilted fabric sleeves and will present them on these coffee cups (from the dollar store), and inside I will put a $5 Starbucks/Tim Hortons card.  It was kind of fun to make them, but next time I might use a pattern with instructions to save me from fiddling about so much.  Although I don't really know if I will ever be making more than one more...

I got to try out my new free-motion quilting foot, so that was kind of fun.  The one I have doesn't exactly fit my machine, but it seems to work out OK.  I can see it's one of those things you really need to just jump in and practice, practice, practice.
Enjoy your day! 

Monday, June 14, 2010


Can you tell which one isn't fresh picked?

After fertilizing my wisteria, I found this little visitor:

Poor thing; I must have scared it half to death.  All she was doing was hiding and waiting for her mama to come feed her, when a big monster came along and doused her with water and Miracle-Gro.  After taking the picture I backed away and the mama did come back with some juicy worms in her mouth.  I heard much frantic chirping from the baby bird (bird bawling?) before she got fed.  Mama took off and watched from a distance, and finally baby made a safe exit.
We had a rainy weekend here.  I was supposed to have a garage sale on Saturday morning but we had torrential downpours.  I had to run around in my pyjamas at 6:46 am and remove all my signs :(  Perhaps next weekend....
We spent a good part of the day in the city - big stuff for us.  We ended up at Yonge and Lawrence, and it just so happened they were having a bit of a street party.  The kids got to see some clowns and have their faces painted.  We ate at a little patisserie  (Patisserie Sebastien?), but it wasn't so much fun for the kids who really just wanted a toasted bagel and a doughnut.  We had to make up for it and buy four really expensive desserts: the fancy French kind.  They were very good I have to say, and now I'm determined to recreate the lavender panna cotta with strawberry sauce.  It took all my willpower not to lick the cup clean.
Afterwards we came home and ordered pizza and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I will have to read the book again because we didn't find the movie very good.  I know my Mum read it to me when I was little, but that's all I remember.
Today I hope to get a start on some teacher gifts while listening to my new Vera Lynn CD.  If all is successful I should have them posted later in the week.
Have a great day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuesday Treasures

OK, I know it's Thursday, but I have been trying to post since Tuesday and have been having lots of troubles.  So - I was poking around the 'net on Tuesday morning and seeing lots of pretty frou-frou found by folks at the thrift stores, so thought I would test my own luck.  I live near two super-sized thrift stores:  Goodwill and Value Village.  I don't go to Goodwill that often, but I decided to visit on Tuesday since it's been a couple of months.  It was totally worth it!  Lots of good stuff there then.  I missed out on some really great tea cups, but there was a pretty serious tea cup collector there (she said she has over 300!) and she was swooping down on the employees as soon as they came out of the back with a new cart of stuff.  The rest of us really didn't have a chance!  I got lots of other goodies though, so on with the show!
I thought this would look nice on my shelf of potted china posies.

To which these have been added.  I love the little tulips - I haven't seen those before.
A pretty little birdie plate and Bachelor Button cream and sugar set.  I happen to like that we call them "Bachelor Buttons", but I remember an English lady who came into the flower shop I was working at many years ago and telling me explicitly they were called CORNFLOWERS and that's all!
The background on these look white but they are really a very pale green.  They are in mint condition too.

I thought this was really cute.  It's only about three inches across.  It will make a nice holding spot for my rings when I have to take them off in the bathroom.

I just love this.  I don't know how old it is - it's pretty clean inside - but it was made in England.  I'll probably put sewing supplies in it.

I totally do not need it, but I couldn't resist it.  The colors are bright and clear and the gold is perfect.  I don't think it was ever handled!

Not vintage, but I couldn't help but think of my sweet girl when I saw this.  Now she has more room to store all those beaded necklaces she makes.

Goodwill is having a 50% off sale tomorrow, but I think I will pass on it.  Firstly I have My Favorite Boy home with me and I would have to take him, and second I was just there!  Even I know when I'm pushing the thrifting envelope!

Have a great day :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rain Date

I figure for every seven days of hot, gorgeous weather I need a rain day.  A really good soaker where I don't even want to contemplate leaving the house for anything.  My brain has been taking a vacation lately, as I complained before, and I found myself just wandering around the house and not being able to focus on anything.  Well yesterday I got my wish and was able to get back on track.  I did a big grocery shop and then came home and baked.  What a nice feeling to know now that I have stuff for lunches -rhubarb muffins; sausage biscuits; ham and cheese muffins.   Stuff for future meals -red pepper dip; lemon marinated chicken breasts; bread and four batches of stock ( two turkey and two chicken).  Actually now it's only two batches, because Mr. Crafty World poured the turkey stock down the drain last night when he was cleaning up after supper.  One of those complete brain wipe-outs for sure.  I can't be too mad, because he does clean up the supper dishes every night.  It's too bad it was the turkey stock though; there won't be any more of that until October!

My Favorite Boy had a good day yesterday as well.  On the way to school we saw some people from the power company getting ready to do some work on one of those big green electrical boxes they have on the side of the road.  One of the jobs involved digging around the box with a front end loader.  Because the whole crew was not there yet, the driver of the the front end loader asked if My Favorite Boy would like to get inside the cab of the machine.  Well, for a kid who knew every kind of construction vehicle by the time he was three, this was a big thrill.  So big in fact that he really didn't know what to do!  We had to encourage him to sit down and hold the steering wheel.  He was a very happy boy indeed.

All that kitchen work yesterday made it extra pleasurable to go to the fabric store's 50% off sale today.  As I'm sure you can imagine!  I joined a bag swap and wanted to get some inspiration.  I think I got some pretty nice stuff - now the hard part is deciding what bag to make!  The deadline for entering is June 30, but then I don't know how long I have to make and mail the bag.  It's an international swap so I don't want my recipient to be waiting forever to get it.  So I'm deciding whether to make a bag now and then just send it off at the beginning of July, or wait until I get my partner so I can ask what colors/style they like. 

This is the bouquet for My Favorite Girl.  Tonight is the first or three shows for her dance recital.  Then dance is done and dusted for the summer.  Yay!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flower Arranging

My new "salon wall" in my upstairs hallway.

Have a swell day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Mish-Mash

While I love this time of year I find the change in weather does something to my motivation and organization in all areas of my life.  I'm tired of driving to dance lessons and dealing with all the little details that need to be attended to for Our Favorite Girl's recital.  I've developed meal-time apathy and can't seem to think of what to make for lunch boxes and supper.  I flit around from hobby to hobby and my house-cleaning supplies are feeling terribly neglected I'm sure.  So this post is a mish-mash of sorts, telling you I'm still here and doing a few things. 
In May I was really missing doing some cross stitch for pleasure, after having finished the bird piece for my Grammie.  It's all framed now and ready to go - good riddance I say!  Anyway I stitched a few freebies I found on the web ages ago:

I'm super chuffed about the fact that I stitched the bunny over one thread.  It's not something I normally do and I totally admire those stitchers who do it on a regular basis.  When I get them finished I'll look up who the charts are from.  I'm thinking needle book for the strawberry design.
Mr. Crafty World and I have been overhauling the backyard - I moved my perennial bed to the other side of the yard and now I can enjoy them from my kitchen window.  There's not much to look at now but everything transplanted well so it should look pretty good in a few weeks.

I do have a few flowers to enjoy:

We bought a little firepit for the yard and actually used it on the weekend.  We had kind of an impromptu outdoor get-together with the neighbors, and the kids played outside for hours and hours.  They ate their supper outside on a picnic blanket and ran between the two yards with glow bracelets on their little wrists.  Those are the kind of nights they remember for ages.  

There's been shopping too - how could you think otherwise?
New eye-candy:

Another not-to-be-resisted tea cup.  I didn't get my cornflowers planted this year so this will have to do :)

I spent an hour and a half in line on Saturday morning to get this:

For twenty five dollars instead of one hundred  I didn't mind the wait!
And lastly this purchase is an exciting one for the kids.  Mr. Crafty World not so much, but he is out voted on this one!

Now to find a free weekend and an available camp site....

Have a lovely week!

You Might Also Like

You Might Also Like