Pages

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

4-2017

Valentines!! That made up holiday that breaks the winter doldrums that can either have a positive or negative effect on ones brain. I've chosen positive because even having a love of my life has not guaranteed flowerery or chocolate gestures mostly because he forgets that it's Valentines. (Which seriously people is ok!!! I do not need a day to know that he loves me and I love him.)   What it has guaranteed is that I'll be baking something.
So far I've tried these,


and these,


this


this


and these.


So why all these baking pics flooding your Instagram??
Because I want to become a better baker.  I've said it umpteen times before only this time I'm serious and as I write I'm trying baguettes.
I want to put in a real effort and I'm trying to make pretty things as well.
It would seem that I'd like to get to a point and start selling my bake goods but alas I think the fun would go out of it. Maybe my mind will change but I'm thinking it won't.
So I'll keep on sharing my baking experiments and I hope you don't mind.:)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

3-2017 HBC Knock-Offs

For Christmas I decided to knit Isaac a hat that he could throw in his car as a " just in case" because as we all know that anything can happen even on a short trip on a snowy, slippery day.  The pattern was vintage and it called for the same navy, yellow, red and green that I associate with HBC. I ordered my yarn from Knitpicks in Mighty Stitch's colours, Oyster, Navy, Canary,Serrano and Macaw. I chose the oyster because it looked more like HBC's vintage wool blankets I adore. Since then I've made Baby G.  a much bigger hat then the first one I made him and it should last him the rest of the winter. I made it with this free pattern from Purl Soho which I luvvvv and will be my go to pattern from now on.





Mitts took some figuring out and a tester before I made ones that worked. If your feeling so inclined to make your own striped version here's what I did for a woman's pair of mitts.

Knitting Needles size 3.5
                            size 3.75

Knitted in the round
Cast in 36 stitches. Join and add stitch marker

Cuff
Knit 2, purl 2 for 3 inches

Switch to larger needles and knit 11 rows in stockinette stitch.

For right mitt knit 17 stitches and knit an "after thought thumb" method ( for left knit 8 stitches then knit an "after thumb" method)
Knit 2 more rounds then join the navy( don't cut main colour)
Knit navy for 4 rounds cut leaving ends long enough to weave in after. I like to leave 3 to 4 inches.
Knit main colour for 5 rounds
Knit yellow for 4 and cut
Knit main for 5
Knit red for 4 and cut
Knit main for 5
Knit green for 4 and cut
Knit main for 2 rounds
Decrease rounds- knit 5 knit 2 together (repeat sequence for round)
Knit next round
Knit 4 knit 2 together (repeat sequence for round)
Knit next round
Knit 3 knit 2 together (repeat sequence for round)
Knit next round
Knit 2 together (repeat sequence for round) cut a long tail

With a darning needle slip off stitches onto needle and pull all stitches tight. Bring darning needle thru the top and secure with a slip knot. Weave in ends
To finish off the rows on the inside I like to weave the top of the cut yarn down the four rows of colour and tie with a knot with the yarn end that was joined in before I weave them together. It may not be the correct method but I'm hard on my mitts and I wouldn't be thrilled if the ends started to unravel on me.

Now you can finish your thumb!! This thumb was the only way I could figure out how to keep it my desired plain coloured thumb. This site gets you started on the thumb here's how I finished it for a mitt.
I kept trying it on till it long enough and with my thumb just barely peaking out the last round is knit 2 together. I took the darning needle and finished it the exact same way as the top of the mitt.
Weaved in my ends.
Where I joined the yarn to the body of the mitt, I left myself and extra long joining yarn to not only get things tight in the corners but to also weave in the loose yarn where I pulled my string out.





Now you can weave in all the ends.

I've never tried to go too rogue when I'm knitting. I'm too much of a newbie yet in my opinion but mitts seemed something I could play around with. So feel free to tell me of my mistakes or a better way because I'm always eager to learn.
If you use Mighty Stitch one ball of each colour will give you oodles to work with.:)

In case your wondering I did the mitts first then the hat using pretty much the same technique for my stripes. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

2-2017- Cake and a Super Long Post

I had an ah ha moment at the end of last year when I began thinking about this blog. When I first started it, it was a way to showcase my furniture creations and maybe somehow turn it into a magical way to make some money. That happened...sort of but it was short lived. Not because I knew I couldn't be successful over the long haul but because I'm all over the place, never want to stay in one spot or do the same thing twice.  ( I also need to mix things up to give my hands a rest from one project to the next) I realized I'm not crazy just wired like that and that's where I struggled with this blog and its lack of posts for 2016.  Most blogs have a common thread that runs thru them like a sewing blog or a knitting blog. Even when they are off the beaten path it usually relates back to their main theme. That doesn't happen in my world, I am really all over the map. Roger will ask what's for supper and I'll tell him one thing only to have him come home to something totally different. So for the blog I was slightly frustrated with myself that I don't fit the blogging mold and I apologize if you've come here to see or read about one specific thing because that ain't happenin'. :) I also felt I showed you the best of my best because that's what I think people wanted to see. That's not real life so this is going to be more of my adventures along with the good the bad and the downright ugly projects.

Roger and I were alone for the first time on Christmas day so we thought it would be fun to spend $20 on each other just to have a little something under the tree. He cheated big time and sat before me the most beautiful red Kitchen-aid mixer. Mine had died after years of service back in May and knowing my love for baking and that it's hard on my hands he upgraded from my old flip one to the Professional 5 plus series. It was pretty, I cried and I baked.
No secret that the Great British Bake Off is one of my all time favourite shows and that I've gone back to watch and re watch them on Youtube. I really do bake a lot and started to try lots of different things in 2016 like the Macaron. ( not to be confused with the macaroon) I can not tell you how many batches of those I've made to try and get the perfect foot... but I digress.
The Victoria Sponge Cake or Sandwich is an easy little cake to make or so I thought. When I first tried to bake it, the cake was dry. It seemed like I didn't have enough jam and when I had added the whipped cream just like they had done on the show it oozed out everywhere on the first cut.

Take two.



Let's start off with the positives shall we..
I used this Vanilla Cake recipe because I don't know about you but trying to bake a good vanilla cake from scratch has been hard. Chocolate no problem, but I've tried so many dang vanilla cakes recipes only to have them come out dry each and every time that I resorted back to box cake until this recipe. It's day two and still very moist. 

The jam filling. I took jam and some frozen strawberries and made more jam/sauce for my layers and then took fresh strawberries to avoid all the jam soaking into the cake and leaving nothing behind. That was one of the issues I had before. I had lots of jam for my tastes but by the time I was ready to serve it, it had disappeared into the cake. ( no it didn't help to moisten the cake, it was just dry cake with jam soaked in

Buttercream icing. Instead of whipped cream I used buttercream. I must tell you that piping things makes my hands seize up but I've come to make the icing so it's on the verge of being soft but still holds it's shape. This was to be served at potluck at church but church was cancelled due to our stormy snowy weather. I knew Buttercream would definitely stand up better then whip cream for a potluck which it did and is still doing next day!! For a home bake whip cream would still be nice.

Now for the negatives..
I made this cake in two 9 inch cake pans but the recipe calls for 8 inch therefore I had to make this recipe twice because it really needed another layer to look right. It made the cake massive. Cutting and serving this would have been a bit of a nightmare. You can't cut it into regular cake size pieces, I mean you can but it's a lot of cake. Most of which I'm sure would have seen the garbage pail because to much of a good thing is still to much. As my 19 year old son said... let me repeat that, my 19 year old son said 
"Mom to much icing" 
The cake pans themselves are two different companies and therefore made two different 9 inch cakes. So make sure you've got the same make when you bake. If you think I'm crazy go back and look, I know you can see it when you really look. One cake pan baked it darker even though they were put in at the same time and came out of the oven at the same time.  
I should have pureed the jam. Visually it would have looked better.

That piece right there, Roger and I shared that piece possibly for breakfast. I mean it had fruit and all and it was more then enough for two. :) I've judged myself for it's appearance and how I can improve it but I can say hands down that everyone who tired it throughly enjoyed it.   


Here's my ( and yours if you like) take away on this.
-Arthritic hands, no problem just adjust icing consistency 
-Less icing
-Buy or use the same make for cake pans. 8 inch would be better
-Puree Jam if using fresh fruit with it

Happy Baking!! :)


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1 - 2017

Happy New Year!!
In case your wondering yes we still make Christmas gifts for one another so here's a bit of a recap of some of the things we ( Roger, Isaac and I) made this year.
There was the customized Monopoly board for Isaac's friend Marie,


( the entire thing was burned in with a wood burning tool)

the coat rack for Ashley using railway spikes the kids gathered before we moved here,


and for me, an 8 ft. bench to fit all the little bums.


Roger made it slightly higher for little people but adults can slide in and are quite comfortable as well.

He also made made smaller versions of both the coat rack and bench as gifts as well but I forgot to take pictures before they headed out the door. 

I sewed and knitted mitts for everyone. The big people received recycled sweater mitts and the little ones got knitted mittens. Again I took no pictures :( but links can be found at the bottom for the patterns.

Stockings for the wee little ones with crinkly elephants inside.


It was a busy busy Christmas :) and a great start to the New Year with family gathered around the table for games and food. 
Already my mind has been swirling for this years gifts. :)

Patterns for the mitts and elephant can be found here






Tuesday, November 29, 2016

In from the Wild.

Roger is allergic to a real Christmas tree so for years a fake one was all we had. I have nothing against fake trees in fact this year I'm partial to the white ones but I just love the smell of a real tree. Since moving here many years ago I once again could have a real tree because it sits in my living room. The door is shut to this room during the week so it stays cool enough to have the tree up already and no sneezing and sinus issues. Win, Win!
Normally we buy our trees but for a couple of years I wanted a tree that didn't come from a tree farm. I wanted one that grew in the wild and hadn't been perfectly manicured to fit the Christmas tree requirements. Google vintage Christmas trees and you'll see what I mean.

So off to my favourite in-laws to find the tree of my dreams.


I really get the whole Clark Griswold thing now. Walking thru the woods looking for just the right one until the heavens open and you see " Your " tree.


This is it!! My tree. Roger is tucked in behind and Jools is front and center waiting to help.


And help he does.


A lot. hehe


I can also tell you that what you think is the right height is way off, just ask my daughters. We brought a tree for each of them and they looked like Buddy the Elf's Christmas tree when they brought them in. A little to tall for the room. Oops.

So here it is my perfectly perfect tree!! It just touches the ceiling.(insert giddy laughter)



I just can't stop smiling when I sit and bask in its Christmassy glory.

Today is also my birthday and look what those two favourite in-laws got me for my birthday!
Vintage goat skin gloves!!!!


They came in this wonderful box all wrapped in tissue. Eek!! what a great day so far. :)






Wednesday, November 16, 2016

8 Months and Counting

Yup it's been that long. I didn't mean for that to happen it just did. There has been another baby added and another on the way in a couple of weeks. That's three new kids on the block for this Christmas and in case you lost track it makes 7 in total. Debbie and Pops' house becomes a happening place to be when everyone is home.
So the newest member is also also going to be a new adventure for M'lynn and Taylor so we've been collecting and handing down items from cousins. A shower added a few more things and Pops scored a few freebees at work in the way of some dressers. Two went to be built in at Amy's house and one I redid for M'lynn.


Groovy eh?!

It was basically a blank canvas with a bit of varnish because they had been built into the wall.

Sidenote- Finding furniture to paint has become a bit of like finding a needle in a haystack. Firstly it's become really expensive to buy a secondhand piece and my own home has just enough...ok well maybe to much fun finds to justify buying something even when it's a deal.  Some of my finds have made it to find new homes but I just don't have the space to store furniture until it does. I tried custom work but found its not for me."sigh"

For our new little boy to come here is his dresser.



It's more navy then the royal blue it looks like and is a paint of my own design. A little bit of this and that to get the colour I was going for. It's a homemade chalkpaint and waxed with my own wax recipe.
The top was stained and varnished as are the handles.



The drawers have been lined with a wallpaper I had on hand and are adhered with carpet tape so it's not permanent and can be changed out later. 


Cost to do- maybe $2.00. I had everything on hand. 

This is a plain solid wood dresser and is kind of a depart from some of the more ornate things I've done in the past. I'm finding myself being drawn to this simple style more and more this year, so you know what that means...time to change my house!!! :)






Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How to fit Five People in One Room

My house will be full this weekend and with all available beds taken we needed to come up with a way to fit a family of five into one room.
Roger and I had talked about this last year when we found out about our latest addition (Baby James) and that our current sleeping arrangements would need to change when everybody visits. 
So here is our plan. Custom made bunks!


We used two by fours, plywood and mattress foam. Roger made a simple design that can easily be unscrewed when they are no longer needed or we need to move them. We cut them to measure five feet long which gives them plenty of growing space but still leaves room to move around the room.  These beds would make a easy addition to a cottage or bunkhouse as well. We laughingly said we have the room we could go three beds high which can be done if your short on space but have plenty of height. 


The total cost including the foam was $160.


Believe it or not there is also a playpen and a rocker in this room and I can hardly wait for the little ones to try out our bunks. :)

P.S. Roger tried the top bunk and I tried the bottom so besides being a little on the short side they are more then sturdy enough if longer is what your looking for. 
P.P.S. Check Pinterest out for other bunk ideas!!!

Foam was bought at Len's Mill Store
Wood was bought at Rona