Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Trip to Toronto

This weekend I had the pleasure to spend time in Toronto with some of my favourite people. Shockingly (not really if you know me...) I didn't take any pictures. None. Zilch. Nada. I was in the presence of a beautiful baby boy (who totally said my name at the age of 10 months!), a great couple and a city that just screams "Capture me!" and I didn't even bring my camera.
Amy and I lunched at Wanda's Pie in the Sky. It was delicious. But best of all, they had pies. A whole selection of amazing pies.
There was this lemon meringue pie that whispered to me while ordering my lunch. I swear! It was telling me to take it home. And if you saw the meringue peaks that this pie was sporting, you wouldn't abandon it either.

Wondering where those peaks are? They disappeared when I dropped the box on the floor...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Garden Planning 2012

Last year was really my first in the vegetable gardening realm. I had a very tiny raised bed at our previous residence that barely got any sun and we moved before I could harvest the ever so tiny beets - though the lettuce always did great.
Our garden this past summer consisted of three 4'x6' plots (yes, they looked like graves) and one 6'x2' plot. I tried to be cognizant of companion planting as I wanted to do a square foot garden. That's where each of the 6'x4' plots were divided with sticks and strings into 1' squares and only one vegetable type was planted into each. Depending on spacing requirements, you could plant 16 seeds of one plant in that 1' space. The square foot gardening technique is really for space conscious people and if you've seen my amazing backyard, you'd wonder why I was trying to conserve space - but as much as I'd like my whole backyard to be used for veggies, my 4 year old and my dog....and the chickens, probably wouldn't like it much. Wait...the chickens would love it - but that wouldn't be good for us.
To re-cap what we planted last year:

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • cucumbers
  • snow peas
  • basil (that never really did well)
  • beets
  • onions
  • carrots
  • broccoli (the broccoli was the saddest veggie ever)
  • bush beans
  • salad greens (I forget the mix I used but it was too bitter for us)
  • raspberries (we put two plants in the 6'x2' plot - with the intent on moving them this past fall but that never happened. Does anyone know if transplanting raspberries in the early spring is a good idea?)
  • Potatoes (but they weren't part of the garden, they were in a garbage can)
Last year I learned that as nice as it was to have such a variety, we didn't have enough of the family staples to keep us from having to go to the market and buy more. I don't want to get carried away and have a goal where we can only eat from the garden (not yet anyway) but there were a few veggies that we could have used more of (onions, carrots, beans, peas - and raspberries, but they never last long enough do they?). 
My goal for the garden this year is to use the space appropriately (we will be making the garden a little bit bigger, but not by much), make it as low maintenance as possible (ha!), and pay attention to succession planting so that I can get more yield throughout the season. 
For now, I need to get me some seeds. I'm going to order from Urban Harvest. They have a great selection of organic and heirloom varieties that are perfect for the backyard homesteader. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Guest Post

I was once again asked to write a guest post on one of my favourite blogs. I am ever so grateful and honoured.
Be sure to head over to The Harvest Kitchen Sisters to read my quick craft tutorial (if you's about burp cloths!) and to see and peruse their AMAZING blog. You won't regret it. I promise.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I know some amazing parents. I even have some - which I wouldn't have admitted when I was 14...
Parenting, as you parents know, is hard. Constantly being 'on'. The thought that it is up to you to shape and mould this little adult into a member of our society - with all the attributes that you hope you've instilled in them. Man, that's one big and daunting task.
I ran across this article and thought you might enjoy reading it. It speaks to those moments of parenthood when you just want to rip your hair out instead of cherishing each moment because it all goes by so fast.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Valentine's Day Came a Little Early This Year

I don't know about you, but every holiday that comes around I think of all the wonderful things that I could make (craft) to make each holiday extra special. For example, this past Christmas, I was going to make this:

and this:

And....I didn't do either. I didn't even prepare to do either. 
There was no gathering of pine cones (even though we have a HUGE pine tree in our backyard - literally just outside, a few steps away) and there definitely wasn't any stash busting wreath making either. 
After whatever holiday passes I am usually kicking myself for not making the crafts that I wanted to as I dream of these said crafts being in our family for centuries to come (yes that's right - centuries. Not years or decades....centuries!). A little delusional, I know.
SO, to the point. I realize that Valentine's Day is about a month away but I wanted to get a head start. PLUS, now that my second course has started, I tend to get a lot of crafting done while procrastinating on reading or writing a paper that's worth 45% of my mark (ouch!). 
I saw this idea on Pinterest. Yes...I succumbed. (Thanks Amelia). Now my procrastination is at a whole new level!
The original blog that it comes from is in a foreign language that I cannot read. Luckily, they posted step by step pictures so I could figure it out. 
Here is the final project. Hanging up in the house already. Because if I don't hang it up now, I'm surely to forget about it by the time February rolls around.

Have I mentioned that I hate my wall colour??? But I digress...
The picture, I realize, doesn't really show you what exactly that is besides being a garland. The garland is made up of white and red hearts, separated by white pom-poms, strung together. I was hoping I could get pink pom-poms but I wasn't that lucky.
To make this, you will need:

  1. 2 pieces white felt
  2. 2 pieces red felt (the felt I bought at Michaels. I was surprised to find out that the felt is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. The pieces were 9x12)
  3. Pom-poms (I bought a bag of 100 - I have no idea how many I used. Sorry)
  4. Sewing Machine
  5. Scissors
  6. Pins
  7. Ruler

Some equipment that isn't necessary but makes this a super quick project include:

  1. Rotary cutter
  2. Self-healing cutting mat
  3. Clear ruler

The steps:
1. Put the 2 pieces of felt together, making sure to line up the sides
2. Cut the felt into 3" strips (you can get 4 strips from a 9"x12" piece - making the strips 3"x9")

3. Sew ONE of the 9" sides together. I used the edge of my sewing foot as my margin

4. Turn your strip inside out and match up the other 9" sides. Pin these in place and then sew along this edge. Your strip will now look like this

5. Now cut 1" strips from your sewn piece. You will get 9 1" 'hearts'

sorry for the fuzziness. Pictures are not my forte - or my camera's.
6. Repeat with the other 3 strips of double fabric that you cut, both in red and white.
7. Once all your hearts are cut out, cut a long piece of thread (this will be what the garland is threaded onto) and attach a sewing needle
8. Starting with a pom-pom, thread the hearts, alternating with pom-poms, onto the string. My pattern went like this: Pom-pom, red heart, pom-pom, white heart, pom-pom, red heart, etc, etc..

9. Once all your pieces are threaded, create loops at each end of the garland so you can hang it up somewhere. When you're threading the hearts onto the string, the hearts will get a little 'smooshed' so just fluff them out a bit before you hang them up.
10. Hang it up and admire your work. If you have a 4 year old - they'll think it's pretty cool (for approx. 30 seconds, and then they'll move on to something else that has cars involved).
There you have it. And since the felt is made out of recycled plastic perhaps it can last for centuries!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Perfect Day

Have you ever had one of those days where you realize that everything you've done, seen, experienced, etc has just been....perfect?
Today wasn't a special day. No big plans. No expectations. The only difference about today was that it was technically the last day of our Christmas vacation. Eric and Gage go back to school tomorrow and  I return to a normal work week. Despite that, we really didn't plan to 'make' this the perfect day - it just happened.
What made the day so great?
- Boardgames and fooseball
- Documentary watching
- Great breakfast food for lunch
- A walk outdoors and the lack of car driving
- Sunshine
- Sewing time
- Nap time
- Knitting time (I need to add to that that I estimated the exact amount of yarn needed to cast on a new project using the Twisted German Cast On Method. How often does that happen??? Well, never for me).
- My men baking. Yes...baking. The smell of banana-chocolate chip muffins is intoxicating.

Muffin liners with a chicken on the bottom. 

And finally, a little man who is excited to return to school and see his friends.