Showing posts from October, 2009

A Living Room Picnic

Last night our youngest daughter and her boyfriend came over for dinner. It was cold and rainy, and I thought a hot dog roast in the fireplace would be fun. A sand-coloured blanket on the floor stood in for the beach. I pulled up the coffee table and covered it with a warm red runner from Guatemala. Candlelight always makes a table look special.

Here's the gang roasting hot dogs. With them I served oven yam fries with a chipotle dip and a crudité plate. We love our hot dogs with guacamole, which I make with grated onion and finely chopped tomato, lemon juice and salt. Yum! Dessert was brownies topped with ice cream and black forest cherry sauce. Simple and fun!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway which is in the post below this one.

For a weekly dose of wonderful tablescape inspiration check out Susan's blog at Between Naps on the Porch.

Time to Celebrate

I think it's time for a giveaway. This seems to me like a great week to do it - I've just opened an Etsy shop and it's my birthday. And what's a birthday without presents? I love giving presents as well as getting them. There are two parts to this giveaway.

The first giveaway will be for those people who are already followers of my blog. It's one of my hand stitched journals. I have three of them here in my Etsy shop but I saved this one just for someone special. I'm amazed every time I look and see how many people have signed up to follow this blog. And I'm so grateful for comments and encouragement - this blogging community is just wonderful. But I don't really want people to sign up to be followers just to get in on the giveaway. So....

 I'm giving away one of my sweater pillows. This pillow is made from recycled wool sweaters - including the flowers. It has a stuffed cotton insert and is sweet and cozy. If you would like to enter this giveaway, pl…

On a Frosty Morning

Brrr! We had frost this morning. I heard the scraping of car windows and peeked outside in the dark. Sure enough, white frost covered the roofs and grass.

On Sunday afternoon we arrived home to find this beautiful arrangement on the front porch. No name, no note and I couldn't imagine where it came from. A message on the answering machine revealed the answer. Our talented daughter-in-law Katie took a flower arranging course on Saturday and shared one of her projects with us. It's so cheerful and colorful. I love fresh flowers and have been missing picking them from my garden. These sit in my kitchen where I can enjoy them while I cook.

The cooler weather always makes me want soup. I could eat soup everyday, I think. I came up with this recipe that combines ginger and a bit of red curry paste with lots of vegetables and some chicken. It fills and warms the tummy nicely. The recipe for Ginger Chicken Soup is found on my recipe blog. Just click the link!

A New Venture

Just a quick post here on a Sunday afternoon. The craft fair was a success in spite of the low turnout. It was a fairly new craft fair, and perhaps not as well advertised. It's also a bit out of the way. But I was pleased. I met a fellow blogger there - Pondside, who has a lovely blog full of optimism and creativity. She is the first of my blogging friends that I've met in person and our short chat was a highlight of the day.

Today, I opened an Etsy shop. I've thought about it for a long time and today, took the plunge. I've listed three of my journals there and hope to add more of whatever I'm inspired to create.

It's been a grey Sunday - time to head downstairs and enjoy warming soup for supper.

Frugal Luxuries Giveaway

I was recently introduced to Tracey McBride's books by another blogger - Clarice at Storybook Woods. Tracey has a blog (or two) and she's hosting a giveaway of her books. So click on over and see what's there. Frugal living has been a lifestyle for us for many years, and it's been a great thing especially in these months since my husband lost his job. Although we don't have the same income we used to, our lifestyle has changed very little because of practicing frugality.

Frugal living does not mean life is without beauty. Living a beautiful, rich, fulfilling life is part of living frugally. It's all about attitude. Living frugally is great for the planet and great for the bank account. And it helps me to focus on what's really important in my life - the love of family and friends, my faith, the beauty of creation, a sense of purpose throughout the day. These are the things that make my world go round. How about you?

The Perfect Art Form

I think I've found my perfect art form. Making blank books! I love to read and write and I collect words and quotations like dogs collect fleas. I also like to stitch and glue and make collages and assemblages. Making books combines all of these activities - AND on top of all that, they are useful!

A linen-covered blank book with a felt bird and French ribbon.

I love this quotation. I have a stack of journals that go back years which I've filled with the breathings (and cryings and joys and thankfulness of my heart.)

I've made these for the craft fair at Willis Point on Saturday. If you're in the Victoria area, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself.

It's Hot Chocolate Season Again!

Although this photo was taking with sunshine streaming through the window, there has been little of it around here lately. And on a dark, rainy morning what's better than a mug of hot chocolate? I'll drink it any time of day. But I really dislike the packaged mixes - they taste like chemicals and are waaay too sweet for me. Many of the homemade mixes include non-dairy creamer, which to me is a fake food - a conglomeration of chemicals and who knows what all?

I do like hot chocolate made from milk warmed in a pan over the stove, but having a mix on hand is faster. Years ago a friend gave me this recipe and it's been one of my staples ever since. I made a batch this week, and have a mug on hand beside my computer when I visit my blog friends. Setting a pretty tray with cocoa for two makes it special for my husband and me.

Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe
4 cups powdered milk (I like to whirl it in the blender for a finer texture)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (like what you use for b…

Scrap Bag Doll Tutorial Part One

Meet Chantal and Annette. They're made from all kinds of scraps that I just can't bear to discard.Some have been around for a long time. Although it might seem like there are many steps to making this doll, just take them one by one and you'll have your own Scrap Bag Doll in no time. She's 20 inches tall and would make a perfect companion for a little girl.

Here's what you need to get started:

Fabric - naturally! You can use any size or shape of scraps for this project. Piecing the fabric in squares or rectangles will result in a different, but charming look than using strips as I did. I used strips because that's what I had most of in my scrap bag, and I supplemented them with larger rectangles.

When choosing fabrics, go bright or subdued. I collected pieces that went together, but a truly scrap doll could be made by just pulling fabrics without thinking.

Sewing machine
handsewing needle
measuring tape
scotch tape
fibrefill stuffing

Scrap Bag Doll Tutorial Part Two

Click here for the first part of the tutorial.

Carrying on...we'll give our bald doll some hair and a face, and make a pinafore for her to wear.

Step 1 - Make a doll wig (I used a process found here to make the wig and added a few helpful hints that I discovered as I went along.) This site has excellent diagrams. I couldn't find a way to contact the owner to give her credit, but she has done an excellent job. There are many different ways to make doll hair so choose whichever suits you.

1. Fasten a measuring tape (or use a long steady ruler) to a counter top. You will need to mark 20 inches for the length of the doll's hair. At the center (10 inches), place a 6 inch piece of tape, sticky side up. Tape this down to the table so it doesn't move around when you start laying the hair onto it. All this taping will save you no end of frustration in a few moments.

2.  Begin laying strands of yarn across the tape. Don't stretch the yarn too much and don't worry about cu…

Two Weekend Walks

Rain dripped all day Saturday. It was so dark it felt like mid-winter. In the afternoon the skies cleared up a little, so I grabbed my umbrella and my camera and headed out for the bog. Rithet's Bog is a preserved piece of history in Saanich and is surrounded by a trail that wanders through trees, blackberry brambles, across a small creek and along a bit of open water. It's one of my favourite places to walk.

I was glad for my umbrella - it soon started raining. There's not a lot of open water, but people like to come and sit on the benches and watch the ducks and wild geese that frequent this bog. No birds were in view today, they were all huddled somewhere keeping out of the drizzle.

Raindrops making ripples in the water that reach out to each other, connect and then disappear, only to be replaced by more ripples. The bog was quiet except for the sound of rain on my umbrella. Under the trees, I moved the umbrella away from my head and heard the sound of thousands of raindr…