Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

I don't think that there is one person out there, that on this day, doesn't look back on the entire past year.

From a personal point of view it was a roller coaster year, from husband having no job, to be taken miles and miles from home for a month (blah), to new a new baby, and a first plane ride.

From crafty point of view, lots of less crafting due to what I like to call crochetingitis, which in the end effects all things. Looking back the only thing that I really liked that I made was the stocking.

Looking ahead to 2014, I'm giving myself a challenge. How to Live More with Less. (Yes there is a book by the same title and its a very good book I might add)  My hope is to inspire you to think differently about things from crafts (more tutorials) , to what we put in and on our bodies.( more recipes) And to hopefully see that you can do things to save money, without having to change things you like to do... too much. 

So heres to 2014, and all new challenges! :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

On a Roll

Its that time of year, where I once again take a Pottery Barn Kids creation and make one similar for me. Well really for the newest addition to the family, Jonah.

This was Leah's

And Penelope's

Annnd Jonah's

I think the train is super cute and pays homage to his Great-Great Grandpa who was a train engineer.

Here's the original

I thought maybe I'd have a break next year from making these... but nope. Come April we add another to our family!!!!

For the instructions on how to make these, refer to

Remember these are merely guidelines, let your imagination run wild and happy sewing! :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My try at a Great British Bake Off Contestant.

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, ( yes that is their real names.) are judges for the Great British Bake Off. I've mentioned the show before here.
While going through some of the recipes at BBC Food, I went directly to Paul Hollywood recipes. You see I'm trying very hard to become a better bread maker, and he seems to be a bread making magician. I've watched the Masterclasses on Youtube and try and listen and follow his technique. I've had success so far.
Today I thought I'd share this one with you its Apricot Couronne. Now the written recipe from the site has a mistake. First the amount of flour is way off. It says 250 grams, it should read 3 cups of flour.
The recipe is also in metric and yes as Canadians we should know this, but I still use the old fashioned way....good old cups, tsp, and tbsp. I'm not sure who tried to convert it, but even thats confusing. So here goes my conversion. Feel free to post any mistakes you find that I missed. Happy Baking :)

* Bakers Note-I did change fruit for more of a Christmas filled Couonne. And I can tell you that it really wasn't that hard to make and it does look impressive (I think) that its a twisted bread.


Apricot Couronne.

3 cups white flour
1tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/3 cup butter softened
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dried apricots (this is where I changed my fruit for the season to cherries, and currents)
soaked in Orange Juice (just to cover)
2 tbsp of flour
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 walnuts
zest of one orange.

To finish
1/3 apricot jam
3/4 cup icing sugar
almonds to sprinkle

Preparation method

  1. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, milk and egg and mix to combine, using your hands. Continue to mix until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. Use the dough to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until you have a soft dough.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 10-12 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
  3. When the dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Beat the butter and muscovado sugar together until smooth. Drain the apricots and add to the butter mixture along with the flour, raisins, walnuts and orange zest. Mix to combine.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  6. Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Taking care not to knock the air out of it, roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 33x25cm/13x10in. Turn the dough 90 degrees if necessary, so you have a long edge facing you. Spread the apricot mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly (like a Swiss roll). Roll it slightly to seal, then cut it in half lengthways (you can leave one end joined to help you twist the dough and form the circular crown).
  7. Twist the two dough lengths together to make a rope, then join the ends of the rope to form a circular ‘crown’. Transfer to the baking tray.
  8. Put the tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 30-45mins, or until the dough springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  9. Bake the couronne for 25-35 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  10. Gently heat the apricot jam with a splash of water, then sieve it and brush it over the warm loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing, drizzle over the loaf and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Leave to cool before serving.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


 Ok so this has nothing to do with Midnight and sometimes I just don't have a title for these posts. But black is involved, so I'm not all crazy.
I am once again finished a project that I started, oh so long ago. So long ago that I can't even find a before picture anywhere. What I can tell you is, that I bought it at Habitat. I know M'lynn and Roger were with me. I know I got a great deal on it, and I know that I really liked it.

It was a tired little piece that needed a little pizzaz. Now I like things painted black however, Isaac does not. After waxing things painted black, it has a tendency to show finger prints and it drives him crazy. Having a clean room.... not so much, but finger prints... go figure. So beware if you ever go this route with black and wax, it needs to be buffed quite a bit.

I like its curvy legs and I decided to leave the knobs as is. I like the contrast, and the fact that they are kind of beat up.

I didn't distress this one either, I'm going to let it continue to grow old gracefully. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Procrastination at its Finest

I bought this is March.....2012.

And I quickly did this to it. Tore it apart and painted and distressed the wood.

Then it sat...... and sat...... and sat.
It moved in and out of  the house with the seasons. My not so patient husband was actually patient. Probably because I had it in the house more then out in the garage.
It wasn't like I didn't want to finish it, but I had grown into a love/hate relationship with it. No sooner had I stapled things in place, that I ripped it back off. It just didn't sit right.
Curves became my arch enemy. So I decided to ignore it till a light bulb went off.

Then I decided to have my family for Christmas this year, annnd I'm sure they'd like to sit somewhere, so I could put it off no longer. Out in the garage it went and wasn't coming in, till it was done. It came in last night at 9 o'clock.

Its not prefect, but I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not a professional.

The fabric I think was picked out in 2011 by Roger. It was a deal at buy one, get two free.

See its smiling at me!

So what took me over a year to "think" about took me less then a day to do.
My hand hurts, I smashed my knee and I stapled my finger not once but twice in the making of this project, but in the end I'm happy, sore... but happy! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I've been lost in the World of Craftsy

Yes its true I've been hanging around in Craftsy. If you haven't tried or even heard of it I suggest you take the tour of their site. They've got some free online classes if you want to test the waters.
Myself, I wanted to improve upon my sewing skills and I've got to say taking a few of the sewing classes has definitely done that. So yes I've been sewing and sewing and sewing. But its not only sewing, its cake decorating, furniture painting, crocheting, knitting, cooking and I'm sure I'm missing a few, its just that vast.

So have a looksy! :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fashion Backwards

I've always been a sucker for twirly skirts, crinolines,and watching old shows/movies from the 50's and 60's.  With a resurgence of this fashion era over the past couple of years, I can have my wish and wear the clothes of this time period. YeeHaw!!
After watching the sewing bee I thought, I need to improve my sewing skills and I wanted to make true authentic clothes from the era, rather then buy a knock-off. Enter Gertie. I picked up her book along with a couple of vintage patterns from etsy.

 Now I've sewn lots of things before, but I'd read that sewing with a vintage pattern can be a little tricky. I thought the blouse looked like a fairly easy place to jump off.

Here it is!

Things you learn from sewing from this type of pattern- It may not be your size and it wasn't, so I had to learn to re-adjust a pattern. Next, I had to make a mock up to make sure my newly sized pattern to make sure it would actually fit me!
-Darts. I've always hated making darts. This pattern had 12 to sew into it. In the end it wasn't so bad. There was a lot of going back and forth between the book, internet and the pattern itself. Interfacing wasn't mentioned once in the pattern, but I did add it.
-Collar. I haven't been the best at making a nice crisp collar, and usually avoid them, but really like how this one turned out.
-Patience...lots and lots of patience. Sewing slower, makes me a better sewer.

In case you're wondering this was from a 1957 pattern. It was fun ( and will be ) bringing these clothes back to life 50 years later. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Annnd we're back!

For those of you who had noticed, I had shut down the old blog, because I was pouting over a few things that had happened. The main one being that my hand had begun to have more frequent flare ups of arthritis. Painting anything had become a painful endeavor. Actually, anything involving my hand from holding a silly teacup had became scary. Soo... insert pout here. I took some time to analyze the situation and although it will be slow going on major projects, I do have some fun things that I've done.

About a month ago, Ashley turned me on to The Great British Sewing Bee. Luckily these can be found on Youtube, and inspired me to make some sewing projects. (thats another day).

Then we watched The Great British Bake Off. About 5 minutes into the show, they were baking a Lavender Shortbread, using Lavender Sugar.  This sounded like something I could make, so I goggled it  and yes, its plain sugar and lavender.

 Then using this lovely recipe, I made my cookies.

Oh how yummy they were!! And in keeping with British style, I made them using a duck egg, which are wonderful for baking because of the extra big yolks.

                                                                                   And of course, a cup of tea was needed. :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Things I like on Thursdays

I'd like to tell you that my kitchen reno is moving right along but it stopped last week when Roger came home with a sore knee that bloomed into a lovely infection, that him and I several times to the hospital this week. But antibiotics finally kicked in, and he is up and around again.

So I thought I'd do something new and share with you on random days what tickles my fancy.

Downton Abbey. Or Highclere Castle as its known in the real world.

As for the show, I will sit with a book and take in all the little things. Signage, furniture and make sketches of things I like or paint colours that are used.

As for the house, this has got to be one of my favourite rooms.

If you haven't watched the show you really should check out Highcleres site for some spectacular photos of an amazing building with a rich history.

Last but not least is my fetish for the hats. This week I've been humming "Easter Parade" and yes I do have my hat all picked out for Easter. But its nothing like these.

Happy Easter!:)

Friday, March 15, 2013


This morning when I woke up, all was good. Then my furnace quit and we have been huddled in our family room till things get fixed. Thank goodness we are almost there.

In the meantime I'd thought I'd show you what's been happening. We added a new beam to the opening. It just seemed to need a little more umph to it.

Then we got fancy.

And added an archway! See those posts. I bought them 6 years ago for around $20. They were going to be used for something else but I like them sooo much there, that this is there new home.

They have actually already been painted white and they do look purty. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Snowball effect.

Whenever we start a project it always seems to snowball into more. I think thats because we live in old houses and you never know what's lurking behind those walls.

In this case, before we did anything, we did a whole lot of "what ifs" before we moved a single thing, so the few surprises we found doesn't change a whole lot. Just how to rework them.

So yesterday we started doing this.

Those ceiling tiles had been up there since we bought the house, and although I looked at them everyday I kind of forgot about them.
But I don't live in an office, so they had to go.

Then we had this.

A door, a window, and a new ceiling!

This used to be an old porch before the previous owners closed it in. The I played Scott McGillvray and gave us Option One and Two. One was to keep going with original plan and leave this alcove part of the kitchen, or two, turn it into a screened in porch. Option one won over.

A long time ago I mentioned we bought an old tin ceiling, which is what we are going to use to recover  this.

And this.

And the rest.... I'll keep you posted :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Welcome to the Sixties!

I adore all things old, but once in awhile I get drawn to a more "modern" piece. The date on the back of   this dresser was 1968, meaning I was one when this was made. ( you can do the math to figure my age ;) )

I made this colour up with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But I'm seeing this shade, pop up all over the place lately.

I saved the handles from another project. They didn't suit it, but I thought they'd work well with this dresser.

Then I raided my stash and found fabric to match. The lighter of the two is an actual vintage piece, the other is new, but I like how they go together.

Considering it looked like this, I'm quite happy how it turned out.:)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Warm Woolies.

For Christmas, M'lynn had an idea for Amy's present that came from pinterest. She's had the idea for a while, but decided to finally let her inner fashion designer out and just do it.

She started with a sweater that we had picked up at a thrift store. The arms were to become leg warmers, the tops of the sleeves, head bands, and the body of the sweater a scarf.

And's Amy, all decked out.

I helped M'lynn out by crocheting new tops for the leg warmers and headbands, and we lined the scarf with polar fleece. We also took the buttons from the sweater and added them to the leg warmers for a little detail.
The nice thing about this sweater is, it was 100% wool, making her new outer wear super duper warm.:)

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Occasional Chair

For one whole week we set off  North to enjoy some r&r. I find it hard to resist the chance to have a real fire and a good cup of hot chocolate.

Before I left I finished this chair.

Sad little thing isn't it.

M'lynn thought it might look nice in blue and I was itching to use my milk paint again.
So we picked the colour " Laurentien" by Homestead House.
At first it didn't look very blue, it looked more gray, but we waited it out and this was the result.

It's now a cute chair, that can sit in the corner to be used when needed.

I've also been itching to use this fabric. It has all new padding, which gave it a little more umpf then it had before.

I like the way the rustic chair, meets up with the classy damask, making it a great chair for any occasion. ;)

Monday, January 14, 2013

For the love of Junk.

We have junk day in our town. That's when everyone can put out as much junk from your basements, attics, garages, you name it, it can go out. What makes it fun is watching how many people drive around, bike around, walk around looking for salvageable junk, including me.

This was one thing I found.

 This mirror is actually off a dresser, which may be long gone or the dresser made it and the mirror didn't, but what I did know, it was all mine now. It was all duct taped together and the wood was split in a few places, but it had character. And if it didn't turn out the way I thought it would, it was after all, just junk.

                      So after some cleaning, gluing, clamping and painting this is it today.

Here was the fun part. I got to see where it was going, and got to take a picture of it in its new home.  It's hanging in The Music Box in Ms Aimee brand new studio which opens TODAY!!  Her whole studio looks fabulous and I'm super happy I could be a little part of her transformation of what is now a beautiful space.:)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Tale of Willy Black

Willy Black was an immigrant to Canada, back in the late 1800's. He came with a dream of one day having his own little business. But first he had to make his way by keeping the books for a little store in a little prairie town. When he had enough saved, he hung out his sign.

Annnnd....... I just made all that up. What really happened was, I was watching Salvage Hunters and Drew had bypassed a sign, but I thought it was kind of a neat. I jotted down what it said and quick sketch of how the lettering looked.

In my version I made up the name Willy Black, and kept the lettering the same simple design, from the show.

First I stained the wood a dark colour, then used a crackle medium and painted it white. The trim was painted black, then green. The word "bookkeeping" is black, and is outlined in gold. I gave the whole thing a light sanding and sealed it with my homemade beeswax polish. Originally the sign was meant to go in my upstairs hallway but for some reason I was drawn to use green. Maybe its because waiting in the wings to be rewired and hung in my kitchen are these.

We found them on our anniversary trip back in September, and I can't wait to see them hung. But I guess right now I'm going to continue to gather things for the kitchen. So far I've been lucky enough to find some pretty cool things, which I can hardly wait to show you.:)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jenga Anyone?

This was Ashley's gift to Isaac, a giant Jenga set.

Now, its supposed to be played outdoors, but who can wait for the snow to melt.

Ashley made it using simple old 2x4 cut to a length of 10 1/2 inches or some number in metric.
She sanded and painted the ends and made a cute little die. You just have to be careful when it falls, or at least thats the moms concern.

Dad-e-o got a beautiful and I mean beautiful Kubb set from Darryl. It was made from cherry wood I believe, and right now is one of those things you just want to look at, its so pretty.

I love winter, but right now I can't wait till spring to get out and play these games outside.:)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So you know....

So you know how the rule in my house for Christmas is that gifts must be hand made. No store bought exchanges, which at first was kind of tricky for some, but did not seem a problem this year at all. So over the next couple of posts I'll show you some of the things that were made.

First up, Roger's gift and how it came to be.

For years Roger has been wanting to build new steps for the basement, so with time on his hands, one day he and Isaac tackled just that.

But he when he tore out the old treads he was thinking they seemed pretty heavy and wanted to know what they would look like cleaned up.

                                        I'm not an expert on woods, but I do know this is a hard wood of some type.

Now this was the hard part for me because I wanted to jump in and take over a few times on his Christmas present. But I'd give my hand a slap and ask him what he wanted to do or thought. And this is what he came up with.

   A much needed night stand, with old treads as a new top that turned out to be some beautiful wood.

I think he did just fine with his design.

Happy New Year!!:)