Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Project of the Month - June 2011 - Finished

Okay - this definitely took longer than 1 month to complete.

I did make the top in about 1 month - then I sent it to my Grandmother to be quilted by her quilting group.

I got it back about a month ago now and it looks fabulous! I love the bright colors and great patterns. It really makes my bedroom a bright happy place to be.

Take a look and see for yourself!

Thanks to the Rimbey International Historical Quilters for hand-quilting my quilt for me. I love it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pastries

We had never made them before but the picture on Robin Hood’s website looked good so we decided to try!




They did take a little while to make but using the breadmaker made the stirring and waiting much easier. We enjoyed them warm from the oven and they were delicious. They were also good the next day.

The recipe we used for Baked Cinnamon Sugar Flats is here on the Robin Hood.ca  website http://www.robinhood.ca/recipe-details.aspx?rid=4618

OR you can follow along here Cinnamon Sugar Pastries.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Placemat Cosmetic Bag

I love it when I find something great and get that bolt of inspiration that fuels me and keeps me creating.


I was wandering around a shop in town and saw these fabulous placemats. It was love at first sight, but we don’t use placemats on our kitchen table. Instead, I had a vision of something fabulous and useful instead, a new cosmetic bag. My old one has been with me for more years than I can remember and is in a very sorry state. It needed replacement and I was inspired - what a great combination!


I bought several placemats made with all kinds of different fabrics and interfacing. I found the easiest ones to work with had lighter interfacing in them, otherwise it makes it too hard to get the zipper in.


Here is an easy tutorial to make your own cosmetic bag from a placemat. 
Placemat Cosmetic Bag Tutorial

Leave a comment & let me know how yours turns out.


If you love the way they look but do not want to make your own they can be purchased in my Etsy shop too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Project of the Month - June 2011 Update

In June, I posted my project of the month which was a Queen Size Quilt Top for my bed.

I love the bright colors and fun patterns in the fabrics.

I did finish the quilt top in the month of June and then took it to the Rimbey International Quilters to be hand-quilted. They don't quilt as a group in the summer so the top didn't get on the frame to get quilted on until September 19th.

Here is a picture of the quilt, laid out on my Grandma's floor as she was marking it for the hand quilting. There are no windows in the room she was working in so it looks a little dark. When I get the quilt back and it's finished I will take some brighter pictures to show off.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spicy Apple Bars

We have sort of a tradition in our house for trying new recipes. Every couple weeks we like to try something new. Sometimes it is a new main dish recipe, sometimes a side dish, sometimes dessert. There is no real rhyme or reason to choosing which type of new recipe to try. We just pull a bunch out and pick one. Over the years we have added lots of new favorite recipes to our rotation, we have also had some epic failures.


It was my daughter’s turn to pick the recipe this week and fortunately these spicy apple bars she picked fall into the first category, new favorite!



They are moist and delicious warm from the oven and just as tasty a few days later. We found them to be more like cake than a traditional bar - but whatever we call them, they were delicious.


The recipe is from a February 1979 issue of Canadian Living. I tried to put a link to the recipe on their website but I could not find it there. I guess 1979 is a little before anything was routinely put online for everyone to access. No matter - here is the recipe for you to try. I hope that it becomes a new favorite for you as well.

Just click on the link or the title to get to the recipe and try it for yourself!

Spicy Apple Bars

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Project of the Month - August 2011

I have a project for myself this month and plan to use up some fabric from my stash. 

It's a gorgeous, navy and white bordered fabric. I am excited to see how the project turns out.

Check back later for some photos of the finished piece!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Christmas in July Sale!

Nana Brown's is having a Christmas in July Sale along with many of the other members of EtsyKids.


Check out the EtsyKids website for a great shopping guide and start your Christmas shopping early this year!

There is also a list of shops having Christmas in July sales on The Handmade Gift Guide

In our shop use the coupon code FIFTEEN at checkout for 15% off your order.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grilled Pizza

MMMM Pizza!!!

We love it at our house. We are really good at making pizzas in the oven but there was always something I wanted to try. 


The idea of making pizza outside on the barbecue intrigued me and I figured with a quick search on the internet I could find out how to do it. Turns out there are LOTS of posts on making grilled pizzas. All of them are different and have different tips and tricks on how to make it work out just right. We tried a few times and finally found a combination that worked for us. 

This recipe is a combination of the ones we tried. It is really quick and easy. It uses frozen bread dough (which we keep in our freezer now) and you can use up leftover lunch meats and toppings that you have in your fridge or pantry. 

It works for lunch or supper and is a great recipe to use for parties or just a night at home with the family. If there are more people at our place for supper we let everyone make their own personal pizzas. If it is just our family then we make personal pizzas for the little ones and a big one for the grownups to share. 

Pepperoni pizza is a favourite in our house so that is what we usually make. Feel free to add your own favourite toppings when you try this on your own.

Click the link to the recipe here Grilled Pizza Recipe

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Project of the Month - June 2011 - Queen Size Quilt


The recent sunny days make me think that Spring really may be officially here! The snow has finally melted, revealing the grass, flowerbeds and garden underneath. There are lots of puddles to splash in and we have even made a few trips to the park, in our rubber boots, in the last week. 

Here is a sneak peek at my project for the month. I am making a queen size quilt for my bed. Once I finish the quilt top I will be sending it out to the Rimbey International Quilters to be hand quilted by the lovely ladies there.


I have had the floral panel fabric for several years now and I was able to find some more of the floral panels and matching fabrics online. The fabrics are all designed by Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Fabrics.

I love the bright colors and am so excited to get the quilt all put together so I can use it!

I will post some pictures of the finished quilt once I get it back from the ladies in Rimbey.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Place to go for great tips & inspiration

The internet is a treasure trove of hints, tips, tutorials and endless inspiration.

Have an idea for something in your head but not sure how to translate it into reality?

Google it and see what results you get back. You may find nothing but often you will find inspiration and if you get really lucky you will find some instructions on how other people have done things themselves.

One of my favorite websites for inspiration and great How-to's is Fave Crafts 

I subscribe to the newsletter and love all the great projects that find their way to my inbox every week. The newsletter connects the reader with Fave Crafts and also with a network of other talented crafty bloggers.

The site is full of great patterns, tutorials and inspiration for crafters of all kinds. I found a few crochet patterns for dolls to make for my daughter and her cousin (I can't crochet but my Grandmother is great and is making them for the girls).

The sewing patterns are great! I have been inspired by many of the baby and children projects as well.

There are lots of simple crafts that kids can do and many eco-friendly projects to choose from too! I have a tutorial post coming soon that was inspired by some of the ways to re-use old glass canning jars that I received in a newsletter.

Stop by, stay and browse - You'll love it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In memory of a dear friend

I have been working on keeping this blog more updated and useful for readers. Some of my favourite blogs have a little bit of everything and I guess that mine does as well. 

I am making a bit of a departure today from tutorials and recipes to write about something close to my heart. 

This month I am making an extra post in honour of one of my dearest friends. She passed away four years ago and I am thinking about her and her family today.
 
Today I am missing my friend. We met as roommates in Residence at SAIT many years ago. I didn’t know at the time that a random assignment made by the Residence directors would bring one of my very best friends into my life. 

The first time we met I was struck by her vibrancy. Brandi seemed to radiate with energy, exuberance and life. She lived every experience fully, every day and was willing to take a chance if she needed to. She could make a person feel like a million bucks with just a few words and almost never missed the opportunity to do it. She would flash her brilliant smile and it was infectious, you could not help but smile back.

I think we were both a little nervous, each meeting the stranger we would live with for the next 8 months of our lives. We had a few tests of our combined patience in the first couple weeks; faulty plumbing on day 2 resulted in a flood of our apartment & several below us, a broken refrigerator and a few other adventures that make me laugh when I think back on them. We laughed about them then and we became good friends. We kept a carton of Oreo ice cream in the freezer in case of emergency – If either of us had a bad day or needed a pick me up we knew we could pull it out, grab a couple spoons and sit down to eat ice cream and have a chat. Ice cream and good company always seemed to make things a little better. To this day I cannot eat Oreo ice cream without thinking of Brandi. 

I will be forever grateful that I got to spend those 8 months as her roommate and the years after that as her friend. She taught me how to embrace everything that life gives us and to take a chance and try something new. She challenged me to step outside my comfort zone; however I am glad that she liked my more timid self too! 

After she graduated from SAIT, I was in awe when she said she was moving to Hay River, NWT to work at the radio station. I thought she was so very brave going off to follow her dreams that way. At the time, I was working at a job I did not particularly like and was dreaming of taking a chance and trying something new myself. I was very excited for her and wished that I could be as brave. 

I visited Brandi in October that year – I shopped for weeks for things that she asked me to bring with me and I brought all the trimmings (complete with instructions on how to cook everything from my Mom) for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a great time! The dinner turned out great and I was so glad to get to spend time with my good friend. We talked for hours, checked out the town, she introduced me to her friends and we even checked out the nightlife and made a few new friends of our own. 

I loved to see her whenever our paths would cross. It was not always as often as we would have liked, but we tried to stay in touch with phone calls and letters in between.  It often seemed like no time had passed in between visits, even if it had been a few months or longer. She stood up with me at my wedding, I was grateful to have her and my friend Julie by my side that day. We made a beautiful trio that day, my girls and I.

I was in Saskatoon the weekend she passed away. I had the feeling that something was terribly wrong all weekend. I could not place exactly what it was but I could not shake the feeling. When her Mom tracked me down a few weeks later and told me I was shocked, but I knew immediately what had been wrong that weekend. That was the weekend I lost one of my best friends.
I am not the only one who misses her and thinks of her often. Her passing affected everyone she had known in her life, her family, friends and community.  

Her mother set up the Brandi Costar Memorial Endowment Award at SAIT as a legacy to her daughter. The story is here http://sait.ca/alumni/givingtosait/makedonation/impactstories/index.shtml under “Labour of Love”.

Tonight I will hold my daughter a little closer, a little longer and let her know how much I love her. I will embrace every moment today and every day and take a chance sometimes just to see what happens. I will remember my friend and all the fun we had together. 

Brandi, I wish that I had the chance to say goodbye and tell you how much you and your friendship meant to me. Actually, I sincerely wish that I had not had to say goodbye at all, until we were old ladies but unfortunately that was not to be. Thank you for all the late night chats, all the fun that we had and everything that you taught me. Thank you for being my friend. I will never forget you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Mmmmmm Cookies! We love cookies at our house – I can’t for sure say if we have a single favourite type of cookie but we do make these chocolate chips cookies quite often. 

My daughter and I love to make these together. They are quick and easy to make. We use our KitchenAid mixer to do all the heavy mixing for us. We just pour in the ingredients and turn it on.

We got the recipe from the September 2009 issue of Chatelaine. My daughter insists that she gets the first taste of the cookies, still warm from the oven, with a cold glass of milk.

Here they are cooling on the rack. The empty spots are from the cookies that we just could not wait to try.


Here is the recipe from Chatelaine's website for the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients
  • 21/4 cups (550 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter or magerine, at room temperature
  • 11/4 cups (300 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla
  • 2 cups (500 mL) dark chocolate chips or coarsely chopped dark chocolate chunks (** We use mini chocolate chips)
** We made a double batch of cookies this day to send some home with a friend **
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly spray a baking sheet with oil. In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir flour with baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until creamy, about 1 min. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture, until just combined. Mix in chocolate chips.
  2. Scoop about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of dough and place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing at least 2 in. (5 cm) apart. Don't press down; they will spread as they bake.
  3. Bake in centre of oven until cookies are golden around the edges, from 8 to 10 min. Remove sheet to a heatproof surface and leave for 2 min. Then remove cookies to a rack to cool completely. Cool baking sheet or use another one and repeat with remaining dough.
  4. If making ahead, form dough into a thick disc and wrap well. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze up to a month. Cookies will keep in a covered container at room temperature up to 2 days - but we doubt they'll last that long.
Nutrients per Cookie
  • 1 g protein 
  • 5 g fat
  • 12 g carbohydrates
  • 1 g fibre
  • 8 mg calcium
  • 92 calories

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Project of the Month - May 2011 Kimono Slippers

This month I wanted to do a project that was just for me. I regularly make gifts for other people and items for my shop, but rarely take the time to make something nice for myself. I figured that it could be my turn to get a wonderful item handmade by me!

I was searching on Etsy for some inspiration and found a wonderful shop, Lena’s Patterns.  Lena has a great selection of patterns for babies, children, and adults as well as some home decor patterns.

I saw the pattern for the Kimono Shoes and wanted a pair of my very own. I also thought that they would make a lovely gift for some dear friends of mine so I bought it.

The pattern was delivered quickly and was very clear, easy to read and follow along. The pictures that accompanied the instructions were very great. 

It is still cold here in Alberta so I used anti-pill fleece as the lining instead of cotton and I did not add interfacing because the fleece made the shoes stand up enough. I also used my serger instead of my sewing machine to finish off the edges.

I think it took me about 90 minutes to cut out and put together 3 pairs of adult shoes. I think I could have completed them faster on my own but my daughter wanted to help so we went a little slower. We had fun together and made some great shoes.

My pair was pink fleece on the inside and green cotton on the outside.


Once my shoes were done, my daughter took them and wore them all over the house. They were loads to big, because her feet are much smaller than mine. She declared that she loved them and wanted a pair of her very own, that were made just for her. 

So, back to Lena’s shop I went and bought the children’s pattern for the Kimono shoes. Thank goodness she had one.

We picked out some fabrics and about 30 minutes later my daughter had her very own kimono shoes. She is so pleased with them!


Thank you for a fabulous pattern Lena and for letting me share my project with everyone!

Lena’s Patterns are available in her Etsy shop.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Etsy Alberta Team Spring Sale 2011

The Etsy Alberta Team is having a Spring Sale - check out the shops on the list below for great deals from April 29 - May 5, 2011

*Please check all Shop Announcements for Specific Sale Details*

Accessories, Bags and Purses
www.etsy.com/shop/barefootclips 15% off (code SpringSale)
www.etsy.com/shop/frogprincessdesigns 10% off (code SPRING)
www.etsy.com/shop/j2studios 10% off (code SPRING)
www.etsy.com/shop/kabukikreations free shipping
www.etsy.com/shop/dearange 10% off excluding shipping (code teamsale)
www.etsy.com/shop/bumblebeeetuna 10% off
www.etsy.com/shop/everydaydiamonds 10% off (code albertateam2011)
www.etsy.com/shop/nanabrowns 15% off (code FIFTEEN)
www.etsy.com/shop/handmadetherapy 10% off (code albertateam10)

Art, Fine Art, Photography, Home Decor and Housewares
www.etsy.com/shop/jenndphotography 50% off (code SPRING2011)
www.etsy.com/shop/taibossigai 15% off all items (code SpringSale)
www.etsy.com/shop/bellissimadesigns 15% off excluding shipping
www.etsy.com/shop/sandistone 15% off
www.etsy.com/shop/ljangphotography BOGO prints
www.etsy.com/shop/niknaksglass 20% off entire order (code ALBERTA20)
www.etsy.com/shop/glasscircus 15% off (code Alberta)
www.etsy.com/shop/Sybillinart 15% off (excludes chains)
www.etsy.com/shop/j2studios 10% off (code SPRING)

Bath and Beauty
www.etsy.com/shop/Maplecreeksoap 10% off for the month of April (code Spring)
www.etsy.com/shop/KCSBathhouse 15% off (code ALBERTA15)
www.etsy.com/shop/Claracoco 15% off

Ceramics, Pottery , Glass, Crochet, Knitting, Needlecraft and Quilts
www.etsy.com/shop/thewickedpotter 15% off (code WICKEDSALE)
www.etsy.com/shop/sixbabygirls 20% off entire order (code teamsale)
www.etsy.com/shop/glasscircus 15% off (code Alberta)
www.etsy.com/shop/niknaksglass 20% off entire order (code ALBERTA20)
www.etsy.com/shop/kabukikreations Free Shipping
www.etsy.com/shop/ufer See shop announcement for details
www.etsy.com/shop/hdawnparratt 10% off excluding shipping (code abteam10)
www.etsy.com/shop/wickedpendants 10% off (code WICKED10)
www.etsy.com/shop/barefoottams 15% off (code SpringSale)
www.etsy.com/shop/knittymaxx 10% off (code ABSPRING)
www.etsy.com/shop/irishknitz 10% off entire order (code Spring10)
www.etsy.com/shop/hilaryshats 10% off (code alberta10)
www.etsy.com/shop/minibytes 10% off (code M1N1S)
www.etsy.com/shop/magpiequilts free Canadian shipping

Children and Toys
www.etsy.com/shop/barefoottams 15% off (code SpringSale)
www.etsy.com/shop/barefootclips 15% off (code SpringSale)
www.etsy.com/shop/handmadetherapy 10% off (code albertateam10)
www.etsy.com/shop/Maplecreeksoap 10% off for the month of April (code Spring)
www.etsy.com/shop/littlejumpingbeans 10% off (code maysale10)
www.etsy.com/shop/thebellefleur 15% off excluding shipping (code SPRING15)
www.etsy.com/shop/mamaswoodshop 15% off
www.etsy.com/shop/minibytes 10% off (code M1N1S)

Jewelry
www.etsy.com/shop/jewelsbyjasmin 10% off (code SPRING)
www.etsy.com/shop/bellissimadesigns 15% off excluding shipping
www.etsy.com/shop/dearange 10% off excluding shipping (code teamsale)
www.etsy.com/shop/rozzie 10% order excluding shipping (code ABSPRING10)
www.etsy.com/shop/tinged 10% off (code SPRINGFEVER)
www.etsy.com/shop/wickedpendants 10% off (code WICKED10)
www.etsy.com/shop/kabukikreations free shipping
www.etsy.com/shop/stonewillowjewellery 20% off (code SALE20)
www.etsy.com/shop/overtherainbowbridge 10% off (code SpringSale)
www.etsy.com/shop/heretodaybeadworks 20% off (code TeamAlberta2011)
www.etsy.com/shop/sixbabygirls 20% off entire order (code teamsale)
www.etsy.com/shop/niknaksglass 20% off entire order (code ALBERTA20)
www.etsy.com/shop/glasscircus 15% off (code Alberta)
www.etsy.com/shop/bumblebeeetuna 10% off
www.etsy.com/shop/junquete 15% off (code sale15off)
www.etsy.com/shop/3urbanmonkeys 15% off excluding shipping (code Spring15)

Paper Goods
www.etsy.com/shop/mygrandpaspen 20% off (code springsale20)
www.etsy.com/shop/hdawnparratt 10% off excluding shipping (code abteam10)
www.etsy.com/shop/craftedbylindy 10% off entire order excluding shipping (code SpringSale11)
www.etsy.com/shop/ljangphotography BOGO prints
www.etsy.com/shop/j2studios 10% off (code SPRING)
www.etsy.com/shop/stampedtreasures1 15% off excluding shipping (code Spring15)
www.etsy.com/shop/irishknitz 10% off entire order (code Spring10)
www.etsy.com/shop/kojozo 10% off (code ALBERTA10)

Supplies, Vintage and Wedding
www.etsy.com/shop/squirrelstock 10% off
www.etsy.com/shop/MyGrandpasPen 20% off (code springsale20)
www.etsy.com/shop/tooaquarius 20% off (code Spring1120)
www.etsy.com/shop/claychicks 20% off (code Spring1120)
www.etsy.com/shop/sixbabygirls 20% off entire order (code teamsale)
www.etsy.com/shop/cestlaviedigital Get 4 digital kits for the price of 2 (see announcement)
www.etsy.com/shop/j2studios 10% off (code SPRING)
www.etsy.com/shop/junquete 15% off (code sale15off)
www.etsy.com/shop/suzie2q 10% off (code ABSPRING10)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

My daughter and I LOVE blueberries!!! 

It’s not blueberry season yet, in fact it is months away. However, we have lots of blueberries in the freezer from the summer so we decided to get them out and make some muffins today.

The recipe is from Flavors of Home by Patti Shenfield. My grandmother bought me this cookbook years ago and we have been working our way through it, trying the recipes out as we go.

Searching for the perfect recipe, we have tried MANY different recipes for blueberry muffins over the years. I think that this one may be the winner, hands down.

The recipe was easy to make and you can substitute other berries or chopped fruit for the blueberries. I think that the next time we make them we may add some chocolate chips to make them super, extra yummy!!!
The recipe makes 18 – 24 muffins which are lots to enjoy right away and extras to put in the freezer until later when you are looking for a quick, nutritious snack. These were light, moist and truly delicious!


Ingredients
2/3 cup                 butter or margarine
2/3 cup                 white sugar
2                              eggs
1 ½ tsp                  vanilla
2 1/3 cups            flour (you can use white or whole wheat)
2 Tbsp                   baking powder
½ tsp                     cinnamon
½ tsp                     salt
1 1/3 cups            milk
1 ½ cups               blueberries


Directions
1.       Preheat over to 350F (180C)
2.       In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar.
3.       Add eggs & vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.


4.       In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon & salt.
5.       Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the milk. After each addition, stir until everything is mixed.
6.       DO NOT OVER MIX
7.       Fold in blueberries.
8.       Pour into 18 to 24 greased muffin cups.


9.       Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (We put BOTH muffin pans in the oven at the same time and baked for 30 to 35 minutes)
ENJOY!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Decorative Bulletin Board


We finally got rid of all the old, beat up, college dorm style furniture from our home office. I am so excited to have an actual grown up desk that looks really nice and works the way I need it to. 

Our old desk was quite tall and took up a bunch of the wall space. I had pictures and favourite quotes taped on it in various places where I would see them when I looked up from working.

The new desk is all one level which left me with a big, blank open space right above the computer monitor. It was really not very inspiring and I missed looking at my pictures. I looked at it for a few weeks and decided something had to be done so I enlisted my daughter to help me make a custom bulletin board for the space.
I was honestly not sure how it would turn out because we had never tried anything like that before. 

We made 2 different bulletin boards. One hangs in my office above my desk and the other one hangs in my bedroom beside my bed. Both are filled with pictures, quotes, aspirations, inspirations, artwork from my daughter and other things I love to look at.

The project turned out really well and was easy and inexpensive too. It was easy enough for my 3 year old daughter to do and fast enough to keep her attention from start to finish (not including the drying time).



Supplies
1 framed, unpainted cork bulletin board in your desired size
Black acrylic paint
Little dish or plate for paint
Foam brushes
Glitter Glue
Spray adhesive
Piece of fabric the same size as the cork part on one of the bulletin boards

Directions
1.       Prep the bulletin board by taping around the frame to keep the paint off the cork. 


2.       Paint the frame of the bulletin board black on the front & sides. My daughter had a great time helping with this. Allow to dry.

3.       For the glitter glue board pick your favourite colors and make a pattern with the glue on the black frame. Allow to dry.

4.       Spray frame with clear acrylic sealer. Allow to dry.

5.       Remove tape and hang up your new bulletin board.

6.       For the fabric bulletin board, after the acrylic paint has dried, spray the frame with clear acrylic sealer and allow to dry. Remove the tape.


7.       Cut your piece of fabric to the same size as the cork part of the bulletin board. Try to get it as close to the same size as possible.

8.       Following the instructions on the can, spray the cork board with spray adhesive and leave the time recommended for it to get tacky. Try not to get it on the frame – it will make it sticky until it dries.

9.       Starting on one side and going slowly, smooth the fabric, right side up, onto the cork board. It is like putting on wallpaper, go slow and try not to get any bubbles between the fabric & the cork. I used a ruler to do this so I could make sure I got it all stuck down with no bubbles. It did take me a few tries so if it doesn’t work quite right the first time, be patient and try again.


10.   Once it is all pressed down the way you like it, allow it to dry according to the instructions on the can. We left ours to dry overnight to make sure that it was good and dry.

11.   Hang it up and fill it with your favourite things.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pasta Fagoli Soup - Quick & Easy Lunch on a Cold Day!

Today is yet another cold day, in a string of very cold days. It snowed again last night and the wind is whistling, sharp and cold.  

It’s not a good day to play outside in the snow, too cold to build snowmen or snow forts. 

I am not complaining, really. I have lived in Canada most of my life and am used to winter. I like to look out the window and see the clean white landscape right after a snowfall. There is nothing like stepping outside on a crisp, cool day and taking a breath of cool, winter air. 

Today the cold weather has inspired us to make some soup for lunch. We found a recipe online several years ago and have changed it over the years to make it our own. 

It is a fabulous recipe to use if you are participating in a pantry challenge – you can use ingredients that you have on hand in your pantry. Change it up any number of ways to make it your own. You can use vegetable stock to make it vegetarian, add extra beans or some cooked meat if you prefer.

It is quick, tasty, nutritious and inexpensive. It is a hearty soup and this recipe makes about 6 servings. We always have leftovers for lunch the next day or to put in the freezer for later. Both my 4 year old and my husband like the soup, which makes it a winner in my house.

Ingredients
1 – 1.5 cups small uncooked pasta (we used rainbow shells & macaroni)
2 – 398mL cans Tomato Sauce (any brand will do – not spaghetti sauce)
3 Pkg chicken bouillon
**(You can use chicken stock instead of the bouillon & water – just use an equivalent amount)
2.5 cups Water
1 – 540mL can beans, drained & rinsed (we used white beans but you can use your favorite)
1/8 tsp ground oregano
½ tsp salt
Sprinkle pepper
1 clove of garlic – crushed (we left it out because my daughter does not like it. Sauté it with the oregano in a splash of olive oil for a couple of minutes FIRST if you use it)


Directions:
** If you are using a clove of garlic, sauté it in the pan first, for 2 minutes with the oregano and a splash of olive oil.

In a large saucepan combine
  •          Tomato sauce
  •          Packages of bouillon
  •          Water
  •          Beans
  •          Oregano (if not added first with garlic)
  •          Salt
  •          Pepper
Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer. 

Cook for approximately 10-15 minutes until it starts to smell delicious and everything is heated through.


Add pasta and cook until pasta is tender  – another 8 - 10 minutes

Remove from heat and serve. 

Delicious!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Personalized Applique Bath Towel or Beach Towel

My daughter was invited to a birthday party for a friend of hers this weekend – a little boy.

She wanted to get him a present that she knew he would love and something that was unique and “special just for him”

Something that he would love – no problem – he LOVES Thomas the Train so she picked out a train for him.

Something unique and “special just for him” was a little tougher to find so I turned to my sewing machine and made a personalized bath towel. I made several of these towels last year for my daughter and some of her other friends. I figured out how to do them based on trial and error. There were quite a few errors before I got it right!!

These personalized towels are great to take to the beach, swimming lessons and on holidays. You always know which towel is yours at a glance.

This is an especially great gift for those people with unique names.

Depending on your choice of towel and fabric these can also be a very economical gift. They do take time but supplies are not very costly and should be easy to find. Make your fabric choices based on the person the towel is for, OR use it as a stash buster project and use up what you have on hand. The small amount of fabric needed makes it pretty easy to do both.

My daughter picked out the fabric for each of the letters in this example and kept me company while I sewed it. She was very excited to give her friend a special, personalized gift and she said that he was very excited to receive something with his name on it.

Here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a personalized appliqué bath towel.

Supplies:
1 bath towel (We used a large bath sheet but you can use whatever size you want)
HeatnBond iron on adhesive
Assorted cotton fabric scraps for letters 
             (You can experiment with different types of fabric if you want, BUT cotton washes really well)
Scissors, pins, iron, marking pen & thread

Decide what size and type of letters you want – I photocopied some from an old craft book I had at home. You can draw some freehand or find a template on the internet to use.It is easier to sew larger block style letters than small, swirly ones!

Cut pieces of fabric slightly larger than the size of the letters you want to use. I cut my pieces in squares.

Follow the instructions on the HeatnBond to attach the fabric pieces to it.

Basically, arrange the fabric pieces, right side up on the HeatnBond. Run your iron over them to activate the adhesive on one side. 

Once the pieces are all secured to the HeatnBond – trace your letters onto the fabric and cut them out.

Lay the towel out and find the middle. Mark it with a pin so you know where it is. 

This name had 6 letters. I positioned the letters 4” from the top of the towel, with 3 letters on each side of the centre line. I put these letters all in a straight line but you can space yours out any way you want. Make them wavy, diagonal, curved, whichever way you want.


Once you have the spacing figured out, peel the back off the letters. Recheck your spacing to make sure that it is just the way you want it.

Iron the letters to the towel. Make sure that they stick well so that it will be easier for you to sew. If you don't secure them well here they will move when you begin sewing around them.

Once all the letters are ironed down your towel should look something like this.

The next step is to stitch around each letter to seal the raw edges and make the letters stand out a bit. 

It is best to go slowly to make sure that the stitches are even and neat.

This is the time consuming part, especially if the name is a longer one. 

I use a basic zigzag stitch with a stitch length of 2.5, and stitch spacing of 1.0. On my machine it makes a very nice satin stitch. I recommend you try a few test runs to get the setting right BEFORE you start stitching on the towel. 

Stitch slowly around each letter, covering up all the exposed edges.  

Once all the letters are stitched around, clip any loose threads and VOILA!!!

Here is the finished towel.