Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chicken Garden?

Someone posted this in a chicken forum that I read and I'm a little (a lot) intrigued. We definitely have the space, maybe enough energy (calling all friends!) and probably not enough time...but I think this would work for us.
The concept is that you let the chickens loose on one side for a season, then after you harvest the garden, you let them scratch that side while you turn the soil and add your compost to the other side.

My only concern, is that the chickens wouldn't have constant access to grass. I know that this isn't a necessity but it does give them some omega 3's which in turn, give us omegas through their eggs. I could just give them greens from table scraps. The fact that they are enclosed would make my hubby quite happy as he constantly complained of chicken poop in the yard (I didn't notice that much of it...).

If you see any potential 'problems' with this plan, PLEASE let me know. I'm still a newbie when it comes to chickens and gardening. Plus, I tend to dream big while reality takes a backseat.

Something to think about for sure.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Making of Yogurt

You might recall, a few months ago, I bought the book The Homemade Pantry. It is not only inspiring, but also chalk full of great recipes. My plan was to make everything in it at least once before the baby arrived, however, that did not happen.
So far I've made the granola (which I never did post about - I'll get around to it. I make it twice a month because it's so darn good), the 'OREO' cookies and now the yogurt. You may also recall that I received a yogurt maker for mother's day and I finally put it to work.
My apologies for not sharing the recipe for the yogurt here as I'm unsure about copyright laws and such. Plus, I really think you'd love this book - so just go and treat yourself to one. And no, I'm not getting paid or receiving anything from the publisher or author of this book. I just like it.
The recipe for yogurt is simple. Milk (I used whole milk), a yogurt starter (I used plain yogurt that I had on hand, you can also buy starter that I think comes in powder form but plain yogurt works just as well), a candy thermometer and any flavouring that you'd like to add. I really, really, really love anything vanilla so I scraped the seeds from two vanilla beans and added those plus the beans themselves to the milk while it was heating up. When the milk was cooled to the right temperature, I removed the bean pods. That was the only variation that I made with this recipe. For the rest, I just followed the directions, set the timer and waited. This morning, I tried some and it was really yummy. It had the tang of plain yogurt but with a hint of vanilla. If you like it sweeter, you can add honey to it - I just may have to try that too.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crafty Sunday - Onesie edition

I've taken the plunge and I feel like if all works well, I may have a little problem after and no fabric will be safe.

I bought these three onesies ages ago thinking that I'd add an appliqué or something. BUT - then I saw this tutorial over on MADE. I have never dyed fabric before as I find the whole concept TERRIFYING, but really - what is the worst thing that could happen?
I got some RIT dye from Michaels. The package said to dissolve the dye in 500ml of water, however, the tutorial says to completely cover the fabric in the water so I just kept adding water until they were covered. The package also said to add 250g of salt to the dye bath which, thanks to Google I found out was 1 cup. HOWEVER, the tutorial at MADE said 1tbsp (which I read after adding the cup of salt - I have no idea which advice was right). I left the onesies in the dye bath for 6 hours. Not really by choice, it's just that I had a nap (not a 6 hour nap!!). When I finally did take them out and rinse them, I really thought that the colour was just going to rinse away, but alas, it didn't! The next step was to put them in the washing machine. Again, I was pretty sure that I'd have stark white onesies after the cycle was done, and yet again, I was surprised to see that the beautiful teal colour was still there.
After they dried, I noticed that the colour wasn't completely even but if you ask me, perfection is overrated.

I created the stencils using freezer paper. Have you heard of freezer paper stencils before? Tons of tutorials online and they work great. Cut it out, iron it on, paint, remove stencil and let dry. I used a hairdryer because I'm impatient like that.

p.s sorry about the colour in some of the shots. I just don't know what I'm doing when holding a camera.
p.p.s - this Crafty Sunday edition was completed MONTHS ago. I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. Two of the onesies were sent to a friend with twin girls and one of the transformer ones adorned our little lady for about a week before she grew out of it. Must. Make. More.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hallowe'en 2012

Hallowe'en is beginning to be my favourite 'holiday' of the year. Seriously, I can't get enough. The costume making (and the midnight/morning mad dash to finish said costumes...), the decorations and the anticipation are just so much fun!

Gage got to choose our theme this year. And surprise, surprise.....Angry Birds for all!
Luckily, I found this tutorial online. My sewing machine got a work out and I found some amazing fabric glue to pull this all off.

Lets hope these birds don't mind getting rained on. And I also hope that someone doesn't take all our candy from the 'help yourself' bucket.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garden Fail

Oh man...the 2012 garden of mine is a disaster! I really had a romantic ideal in my head that with a new baby, I could just strap her on and spend hours in the garden, taking a few breaks to feed her and then returning to get more dirt under my nails. HA! How naive can I be?
The reality was:
1) By June I was too huge and sore to really get down and dirty in the garden - which was the beginning of the end
2) A newborn and a 4 year old and hosting to all the family that came to see our beautiful girl left little time for gardening
3) With the baby-free time that I did have, I had to choose between sleeping, eating, showering, spending time with family or gardening and sleeping usually won.

On the plus side, my husband built me four new garden boxes that we used this year. I had four, 4'x4' raised garden boxes that I separated again into the 1' sections like last year. I say 'raised' but when I went out to check on Eric who was setting them up, he had dug down into the earth so that they were kind of half above the ground and half in the ground...and he had put them in a different spot than I had wanted, but really, I was super pregnant and I couldn't help so I shouldn't complain, right? (but on a side plan had been explained to him several times and he still did it wrong. It was a little frustrating). Oh, and I should mention that all the dirt/sod that he dug up to make room for the boxes was thrown to the side and is still sitting next to the garden beds, with a forest of weeds on top.
What I planted this year:
Green bush beans
Scarlet red bush beans
Red onions
Lettuce mix (I don't think I'll do a mix next year, just individual heads of lettuce)
Tomatoes - cherry, plum and your typical round tomato
Snap peas
Green Peppers
Watermelon - which gave me tons of flowers but only one fruit which only showed up about a week ago so I highly doubt that I will get a ripe watermelon this season, plus, this little watermelon decided to fruit on the one flower that made if through out fence into our neighbours yard and is now too big to pull if back through. That must be karma's way of telling me not to be upset about the garden boxes being in the wrong spot.
Beets - which did a whole lot of nothing
Turnips - which I harvested too late and were rotten when I pulled them from the ground
Radishes - they were yummy.

I got a great amount of cherry tomatoes, which I roasted and froze to add to sauces later in the year and the green beans are so delicious that I can't completely write off this garden just yet. But it definitely wasn't the garden that I had fantasized about.

Next year will be better.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

So Sorry

For the few people that read this little blog of mine, I apologize for the lack of posts of late. BUT - I have a pretty good excuse...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Knitting away

Before you ask, no.....I haven't sewn in the ends or chosen buttons for the purple sweater yet. But - I have finished the blanket (pics to follow soon-ish) and cast on two more projects.
Here they are:

1. Bobble Edged Shrug by Debbie Bliss

Knitting this out of Rialto Lace in this beautiful creamy white colour. I just wanted something pretty to knit (and hopefully finish so I can wear it). Maternity clothes just don't make a girl feel pretty.

2. Beyond Puerperium (again - this is really becoming my go-to baby sweater of choice. It is really a quick knit that's easy and looks great)
Knitting this in some EcoBaby cotton for a girlfriend that just had the most adorable baby boy. This will be done before the shrug. It is nice to take a break from pattern reading/counting/bobbling.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A New Favourite

When I was pregnant with Gage, I craved and ate Captain Crunch cereal and nectarines (not together) like they were going out of style. With this pregnancy, in the earlier months it was anything citrus and as cliche as it sounds, pickles. During the last 2 months however, I've been craving carbonated, sugary, beverages, with COKE being at the top of the list. I've always been a Coke drinker, as that is my drink of choice during social outings (I'm not one for alcohol) but my desire for it has increased ten fold. The problem with this, is that drinking a lot of Coke, as I'm sure you're aware, is consuming quite a bit of sugar and caffeine. Plus, it was giving me heartburn. BUT, my craving was (is) still here so I needed to come up with a different solution.
Hence my new favourite carbonated beverage (okay, it's not really my favourite as nothing will ever top Coke, but it's good enough).
Vanilla Soda.

It's so simple yet so delicious, and the best part is that you can control the amount of vanilla syrup you put in so it can be as sweet or not so sweet - whatever floats your boat.

You need:
Can of club soda
Ice Cubes (don't get me started on my craving for crushed ice)
1/3 cup (or less, or more) of vanilla syrup

Mix all together and enjoy!

Vanilla Syrup:
  1. Add 2 cups of granulated sugar to 2 cups of water in a saucepan
  2. While constantly stirring, heat mixture over medium/low heat until sugar is dissolved and liquid is clear
  3. Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, give it a quick stir to incorporate the vanilla
  4. Pour into the container of your choice (I use mason jars), let cool and then enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On My Needles

Here's what I've been up to lately.

This is another Beyond Puerperium cardigan - knit with Sirdar Baby Bamboo in this awesome purple. Super easy knit. You can find the pattern on Ravelry. As you can see, I still have to weave in ends, block and add buttons. I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time deciding on buttons...

This is a chevron baby blanket. You can find it here. After the pink, there will be white and then two different blues. The yarn is held doubled so it's thick, warm and a quick knit. 

What's on your needles?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

To all you fabulous mothers out there, I hope you were celebrated yesterday. I had a wonderful day full of family, love and laughter. I was also gifted a new gadget that I've had my eye on. I'm going to try it out today.
Sorry for the fuzzy iTouch photo, it's the only working camera in the house...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homemade 'OREO' type cookies

This is the second recipe that I've tried out of The Homemade Pantry. The cookies were easy to make and the filling is nice. Not too sweet, like the store bought kind, but nice.
I'll be making more of these in the near future as they won't last long here. Mmmmmmmmm.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This. Instead of, That.

This , plus a nice hot mug of chai.

Instead of that mess of a kitchen.

I think I chose wisely.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Okay, okay. I know it's a tad unrealistic to think that I could possibly do a 9 day bike/farm tour around Ottawa with an infant - but a girl can dream, can't she?
This tour just sounds so amazing that I thought I'd share it with you. BUT, promise me, if you go, please, PLEASE tell me all about it.
I'm hoping that going with a 1 year old next summer will be a little more feasible??

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crafty Sunday

Again, I didn't knit this all today - I'm no superhuman. I had started this bad boy back in the fall before my school took over all my free time. I finished knitting him last week and put the finishing touches on him today.
You may realize I have a little crush on Rebecca Danger's knitting patterns....this one can be found in her book.
I can't seem to find the perfect name for him though - perhaps you have an idea?

New Additions

It's that time of year again! CHICKENS!!!!!
We picked up these three beauties from Laura, one of the Harvest Kitchen Sisters on Monday and they seem to be adjusting well. We even got an egg on the first day!
Gage spent about 40 minutes sitting on a chair in front of the chicken coop yesterday, telling the chickens how their relationship with our family is going to work. When I asked him what he told them, he said that he told them their responsibility is to provide us with eggs....or else we'll eat them. Hmmmm. (Don't worry - we won't eat the chickens, I've got a deposit on these ladies!).
I'm looking forward to some animal husbandry again. The black/white one is named "little Jerry" (Seinfeld anyone?), the red/brown one is "Humpty Dumpty" and the black one is "Smankey".

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crafty Sunday - Monster addition

No, I did not knit this today but I thought you might like to see it, and considering that I didn't have time to craft today (went to a movie instead) it fits right in to a Crafty Sunday post!
I started knitting this back in 2010!! (I'm ashamed to even admit that) and didn't finish it until this past September. As you may have guessed, this mama and baby are another one of Rebecca Danger's fabulous designs. Ravelry link.
This adorable pair is currently living at Bridget's store, Needles in the Hay, where they are surrounded by beautiful yarn and yarn loving people.
Photo credit: Bridget @ Needles in the Hay

Photo credit: Bridget @ Needles in the Hay

Photo credit: Bridget @ Needles in the Hay

Photo credit: Bridget @ Needles in the Hay

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crafty Sunday...on a Tuesday

(this was knit on Sunday...however, it took until today to get a pic of it)
Looking for a quick knit? Look no further than Rebecca Danger's Chubby Chirps. Ravlery link
Quick and adorable.
I'm thinking the baby's room needs a nest full.
He was used as a 'yarn bomb' on a colleagues desk this morning

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daydreaming (at 9:40pm)

For the past month, I've been working away on two school assignments that surprisingly haven't caused my untimely death that I thought they would.
I keep telling myself that no education is wasted and that just because I don't particularly like this course, the information I've learned is valuable (applicable may be another arguable). I also remind myself that this pain and torture is a requirement for me keeping my current job, so really, there's no way out.
(on a side note - I am conscious to not speak of hating school in front of my little man. I don't want that to start just yet and I'm sure he'll come to that conclusion on his own some day).
So, instead of working on my essay, I've spent the last 10 minutes dreaming of all the things that I'll do in the weeks to come after I hand in my last assignment tomorrow.

Here are a few ideas:
1. Try and relish this pregnancy. We all know that babies are easier to take care of in utero.
2. Organize, organize and organize this mess of a house. Starting with the tupperware cupboard
3. Make homemade granola
4. Get some seeds started (that's a whole other post as I bought something recently that will help with this)
5. Clean up and prepare the garden, as much as I can. There's an area of grass that I'd like to dig up to put our pole beans but I'm not sure if my 'state' will allow such activity.

I'll leave you with this.

25 weeks and counting...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Daddy Invention

Gage likes Angry Birds so daddy thought this would be a fun idea. So far there are no casualties.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I got a little carried away...

I have this obsession with fabric. This would be normal and understandable if after I acquired said fabric, I put it to good use. However, I tend to hoard a little bit and keep the fabric for that 'perfect' project...which never seems to come around (mostly because I can't bring myself to cut the fabric).
Knowing full well my inability to use beautiful fabric, I still find myself venturing over to and browsing through their bundles. And now that I have a little baby girl's room to decorate, I feel less guilt about it.
As you may recall, I picked the colours I wanted to use in the nursery a few weeks ago. I've been wanting to find some bedding in those colours but have come up short so let me tell you my glee when I found this bundle of fabric at Fabricworm. Now I get the colours I want AND I get to be crafty and make the bedding myself.
Now if I can just get over my fear of cutting fabric...

Saturday, March 3, 2012