Monday, 19 January 2015

Handmade gifts 2014

Since Christmas is over, and I finally gave out all my gifts, I wanted to post the handmade gifts that I gave out this year.

Every year, I give my friends and family at least one handmade gift.  Last year I knitted cabled head bands and hats for everyone.  The year before I gave personalized gingerbread people.  This year, I left things a little late, and made two quick, but useful gifts for the peeps in my life.

The first gift I made was some beard oil for my D.  I made the labels to and put them onto a recycled bottle.  This is the easiest stuff to make:  3 Tbsp of Sweet Almond Oil; 2 Tbsp of Jojoba oil; 1 tsp of Seabuckthorn Oil;  and 2-3 drops of Tea Tree essential oil and 1 drops of Sandalwood essential oil.  (Note:  This is not a great recipe for people with nut allergies.  Use Olive Oil, and light Castor Oil instead of Almond and Jojoba!)  D loves it.  He uses it once a week.  And he laughs each time he sees the label. 

The gift I made for my lady friends was a stamped clay ring dish which I packaged with some hand salve.  I found the DIY tutorial at this great blog

There was some trial and error on this one though.  I found that the best ink for this project was "archival" inks, and the brand that worked best for me was Colorbox.  The other ink pads I used faded and weren't as vivid once the clay dried.  For others i didn't used any ink at all!  I just stamped them nice and hard so that the impression came through.  I liked these ones the best.  I added some gold leaf paint to the edges to make them a little more fancy.   They were a hit with my pals.

Did you make any gifts this holiday? 

Friday, 2 January 2015

The best thing this year so far...

Hi friends. I know, it's been a while. There was a lot going on, and I never found the energy to do much, let alone blog about it.  And I just couldn't bring myself to start a blog series called, "From my couch" so, a took a break.  The truth is, I started a new job, and threw myself into that (as you do) and  and, and.  The break was just what I needed. I feel refreshed, and I came back to look at me blog, and thought to myself , "I like this blog." Which is good. Because it's mine. I'm still not going to have a very active posting schedule, I think mostly on the weekends since that's when I do the fun stuff, so if you stuck with me this long, I hope you won't mind the lighter postings. Yous are good people though, so I think we will be fine.

On with the post!

That's quite a title for the second day of the year. But this twitter hashtag was the best New Years thing I have seen.  It started with this lady:

And soon, I had to get in on the action. Here are some of my most retweeted ones:

Which I think are just hilarious.  Yes, I laugh at my own jokes. Doesn't everybody?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Peach Season

The summer is awesome for those of us who live in the region called the Niagara Green Belt!  We live in a temperate area where there are so many orchards and farms of all types.  And at this time of the year is my favorite fruit harvest-- peaches!

Remember this gem?

That doesn't really have anything to do with this other than its a song about my favorite fruit that I sing when I'm eating peaches.  And now, hopefully you will too.

ANYWAYS, the point of this post was to implore you to roast and/ or grill your peaches.  They are so yummy raw, but roasting them ups your game!

The picture above is of a peach roasted in the oven, with ice cream and a yummy pecan mush.  I'm southern so I eat pecans on EVERYTHING.

To roast your peaches:
  1. Wash then cut your peaches in half and remove the stone.
  2. Put your peaches into an oven safe baking dish 
  3. Roast/ Bake your peaches at 350 for an hour or so.  They are finished when they are soft and juicy and the skin on the edge of the cut has curled slightly.  
There you go.  Eat them as dessert by themselves.  Or you can add ice cream and a yummy nut mush.

Yummy Nut Mush:
1/2 cup of pecans (walnuts work too)
2 tbsp soft butter (I used Earth Balance which was great)
2 tbsp of brown sugar

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until it comes together.  Serve a spoonful with your roasted peaches and ice cream and enjoy.

Seriously, roasting these peaches changed my life.

Monday, 18 August 2014

My Kijiji skills are strong

For 2 years-- 670 days-- I have been looking for a kilim rug.  It's not that I couldn't find one, I found many I love at prices I did not love.  I'm not cheap, per se; I like the word the French use economisee.  I couldn't justify to my wallet (or my partner) spending more than 600 dollars on a rug. But after a year of stalking eBay and kijiji, I found one!  And at a really good deal, probably too good...

ANYWAYS, I contacted the seller and drove an hour to pick it up and after a good vacuuming and a quick clean, it ended up in my dining nook.

And I love it.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Made: Woven Wall Hanging

From: Creative Bug BlogA Beautiful MessA Pair and a Spare

Usually, I'm slow to notice trends.  I don't read about them, and usually I don't really care.  I like what I like, you know?  But if there's a trend that centered around a DIY, I'm there.  I love when I figure that out.  and that's what I fell about this trend of woven wall hangings.

I am seeing them EVERYWHERE.  I couldn't read a DIY blog without it popping up, y'all.  And the more I saw them, the more I wanted one.  So, I decided to try my hand at one.  I've woven before, but now I don't have a loom.  I've meant to buy a new one, but never think of it when I have the money-- and there's a new Fossil Store in my town, and other things and places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do.  So I never bought one.  But that didn't stop me!  I made this:

...using yarn and some cardboard! 

That's the best part about weaving-- you can use almost anything and weave.  If you want a full tutorial on the process of weaving little wall hanging, A Beautiful Mess has a great one here.  If you don't own a loom (and don't want to buy one) you can substitute a piece of corrugated cardboard at least as big as you want your hanging.  Then cut some notches in the top and bottom (directly across from each other) to weave your warp onto.  Then you can follow the tutorial as written. 

The good thing about using cardboard instead of a loom, is that you can draw a guide for your image onto the cardboard.  That way you don't have to wing it.  I wanted some triangles in the "Flying Geese" pattern I love on quilts. (Note: The link leads you to a page about the Underground Railway "Quilt Codes."  I don't want to hear about how the theory of the quilt codes were "disproved."  I like the story, whether true or not.  It speaks to the ingenuity of the slaves and their allies while trying to escape an unjust system.)  So I wanted some version of it for my wall.

I used some neutral wool, and some Noro yarn for the triangles, a Japanese wool with awesome colors.  The weaving was really fast!  I finished it in one day.  I started it in the morning with my coffee, and finished it while I was watching Arrow.  I held the yarn double for the weft to make it thicker.  I like how it looks.

I hope you give it a try!  It was a satisfying DIY with a great end product.  If you do try it, make sure to link back so I can see it too!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

My Favorite Iced Tea

Oh summer- the time when all I drink it seems is water, iced coffee and iced tea.  But I'm picky about my iced tea; I don't like that stuff that comes in a can, or a bottle.  Nope.  Only the home made stuff for me.  And its so easy to make, why wouldn't you make some homemade iced tea.  There are endless ways to make it your own!  I especially like using herbal tea bag, usually fruity.  I find them refreshing.  But I have used regular ol' black tea and its turned out nice too.  This formula, I guess, is for my current favorite iced tea.  Its refreshing, not too sweet, and caffine-free so you can sip it into those hot summer nights.

You need the basic iced tea materials: A kettle (or a pot and stove), a heat-proof pitcher (I got this Le Crueset one from Winners for 15 bucks!) and some tea bags.  I'm into the herbal berry teas byCelestial  Seasonings, but my absolute favorite is the Very Berry tea from Clipper Teas.  I just ran out when I was making this pitcher.  It turned out really nice too.  Not pictured it the sweetener you want to use.  I use honey most of the time.  You can use a wet or dry sweetener, it doesn't matter.  


4 tea bags, any kind
3 cups boiling water
2 tbsp sweetener (or more or less according to your own taste)
4-5 cups cold water
Ice to serve
Any garnishes that you want, I used limes and cherries


1) Boil your water in a kettle or on the stove. 

2) In your pitcher or another heatproof container, steep your tea bags in the water for 15-20 minutes.

3) After you have steeped the tea, you will have a concentrated tea base for your iced tea.  While the tea is still hot, add you sweetener, and stir well.  Make sure that your sweetener is melted, dissolved and incorporated into the base.  

4) Taste.  You want it to be sweeter than you want the finished tea to be because you will be dilouting the tea with water and ice.

5) Add cold water to the tea.  Start with 4 cups and keep increasing until you have the strength of tea desired.  I like pretty strong tea, so I don't add the full 5 cups.  

6) Stir well, and that's it!  Serve in glasses filled with ice and any garnish!  Sip and feel Southern!

We like to sit outside and read and talk while sipping iced tea.  Its a pretty Southern thing to do.  Can we take a minute to look at the cool lids I found for mason jars??!:

They are made by Ball, and they were super cheap.  I got 4 lids and 4 reusable plastic straws for 2 bucks!  They were great for keeping the bees and wasps away.  If you don't have the time to make your own, these are a great buy.  You can use them without the straws, that is my favorite part about these lids.