Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Love for the Market

I tell you what, I have not stopped in a week! We have been zoom zooming all over the place what with play dates, pre-school music classes, sewing, baking and just plain living! I love it. My favourite part about last week had to be the nature walk with Ron and Wednesday. Pictures of that here on Flickr.

Today though, I thought I would bring you pictures of what I whipped up yesterday,because gosh darn it I am ever so proud!

Repurposed Bed Sheets turned Market Bags

These are my new pretty market bags. I have lots of fabric shopping bags, each from their respective retailers but none that I had made, or thought were aesthetically pleasing. So with my confidence up from the Silky Eye Pillows and Cozy Pockets I thought I would give the Broadturn Bag pattern from Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home a try. It was so easy I made two!

I cheated and well I paid for it. Instead of giving the bag two side seams I folded one thirty inch piece in half and only sewed one side seam. Well, when it was time to attach the bottom I had too much fabric. Had I sewed two half inched seams it would have been perfect. Still, it was the bottom and no one will ever notice and I love love love them! They are so pretty and bright and cheerful. Another great excuse to head to the Farmers market(because I need another one lol).

That makes something from each chapter of the book save one. I am hoping to make a couple of the mama bags this weekend as a start to my Christmas gift making. That would make something from each chapter and it also gives me a good base of practice to jump in feet first into both the book and Christmas gifts. I won't scare you buy telling you how many days until Christmas but it is coming too soon for this cat.

Repurposed Bed Sheets turned Market Bags

Okay, I gotta run and entertain my babe. She has been incredibly patient with me and these pictures and this post. Happy Humpday!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mmmm Good Monday on Tuesday...

I am a day late and dollar short I know. But the weather here has been sub par to say the least and when the weather is dreary so is the lighting in this apartment. But, today I managed to get a picture of a piece of the delicious cake I made yesterday.

Berry Coconut Cake

I have been holding on to this recipe all summer wanting to try it but with all of the birthdays to make cakes and cupcakes for it kind of got put on the back burner (no pun intended). With the dreary weather and no birthdays in sight yesterday I was able to buckle down and bake it. Even Wednesday gave me the breathing room I needed to bake up a storm. Gosh that kid is great. The result was a very tasty Berry Coconut Cake from Canadian Living Magazine's website. Recipe and nutritional information to follow.

Berry Coconut Cake

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
3/4 cup (175 mL) each raspberries and blueberries
(I used a frozen mix totaling almost two cups)
1 cup (250 mL) shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened
1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon


Topping: In small bowl, combine coconut, sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon until crumbly; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt ; stir half into butter mixture. Stir in sour cream. Stir in remaining flour mixture.

Spread in greased 9-inch (2.5 L) square cake pan. Sprinkle with raspberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with topping. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack.

Nutritional Info
Per serving: about -
calories 425
protein 5 g
fat 21 g
carbs 54 g

A couple notes:
I don't know if my oven is baking hot these days but I used frozen berries and still baked it for 15 minutes less than the recipe called for (55 minutes instead of 60-70).
The same thing happened with the lemon loaves I baked last week so it could be my oven. But it could have been the glass cake pan I used for the cake. All I can say is watch your cake and start checking it at 55 minutes. (I use a wooden skewer.)

I only had sweetened coconut and was not about to go out to buy a lowly bag of unsweetened. So I halved the brown sugar amount in the topping. It was good, maybe a little sweet but not too sweet. Good. But if you have unsweetened I would probably recommend it.

Close up

There is one last piece sitting in the pan on the counter as I type this and it will take all of my will power not to eat it.

Bon Appetit ~!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Soothing, yes. Fun, definately.

I have not been posting any crafty bits lately because I had to take a break from sewing and crafting due to some neck pain. And by neck pain I mean almost debilitating headaches due to the strain I was putting on my shoulders and neck whilst sewing and crafting.

But after a much needed break (both physically and mentally) I have returned with a finished project and another in the works.

Today I bring you Lavender/Flax eye pillows made from instructions in Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home. Slowly but surely I will make all of the projects from this book!

Eye Pillows

These were simple and fun and really are immediately soothing. My mom is under the weather and I plopped a finished pillow on her eyes and she just kind of sat there sniffing away. Good stuff. I am sure I will be using one this evening after crafting in the near-dark. (Long story full of inadequate lighting.)

The blue floral material is a silk scarf I bought at a local thrift shop for just this purpose and it conveniently made exactly three scarves with no inches to spare. So I made one for my mom, one for my mother-in-law et moi aussi.

The inside sachet is made from a thrifted cotton remnant and the lavender I dried myself from a neighbor's garden back when I was living in Kelowna. It all came together so well. I have never used flax in it's whole seed form (for eating or crafting) but I can see why she recommends it. It i s a perfect weight (much lighter than rice) but still heavy enough to keep your eyes closed and yet there is a fluidity to it that makes it most comfortable.

Good stuff! If you haven't purchased the book I cannot tell you how happy I am that I did over and above the many books on my Chapters wishlist. Go now, buy, make, love.

Love my work too. Here are some photos four your viewing pleasure.

Eye Pillows (3)

Eye Pillows (2)

Colour of Grey is A-Ok

Rainy Day Colouring

Today is absolutely gorgeous. We have already been to the park, had a nature walk and back. Wednesday is just winding down for her nap while I type this. But most of the week was under the colour of grey. The skies were full of dark clouds and sometimes rain. So we pulled out the big guns. Glue sticks! And markers of course.

I put down a table cloth and let Wednesday go to town with the glue stick (which rarely actually glued anything down) and markers which she rarely gets to play with. She was easily entertained and quiet for a good forty five minutes. Long enough for me to make four loaves of lemon zucchini bread.

Although she loves colouring in her ever expanding collection of colouring books she also likes to colour different pages printed up sometimes with her favourite characters, sometimes pictures of things she loves like butterflies and sometimes just random papers that need colour. This is a great way to use up scrap paper and don`t forget to print on both sides of the paper!

Here is some of my favourite links to free colouring pages.

Toopy and Binoo activities here. Some colouring, some finger puppets some activities. Right now Wednesday`s favourite show is Toopy and Binoo so needless to say these go over well.

Here is a link to some great Sesame Street pages. Wednesday likes the show Play With Me Sesame so Ernie and Grover are always welcomed.

Treehouse TV is the equivalent of Nick Jr. (I am assuming since many shows on this channel are Nick Jr. labeled) and they have a host of fun stuff at the website. For now I just print up these colouring pages which are very plentiful.

Here is a site for very simple one dimensional (mostly) drawings of animals and flowers etc, This is where I print up the butterfly pages for Wednesday to colour.

And finally here is some art history colouring. I like these pages in particular in the American Gothic couple.

Happy colouring mamas (and babes)!

Rainy Day Colouring

Rainy Day Colouring

Monday, September 21, 2009

Upside Down Does Right by Me

Apple & Honey Upside Down Muffins

Happy Monday! As mentioned in my last entry I managed to squeeze some baking into my wonderful weekend. I realize now that the last few entries have been goods that fit into muffin tins. This is not the only thing I bake. But It is just so simple, so sweet and so perfect for running out the door to have these portable little goodies on hand.
The goodies this time are Upside Down Apple & Honey Muffins. The apples and honey were both bought at the farmers market the same day and you could taste it. These were super simple, I dare say almost healthy and super tasty! The pieces of apple gave them flavour where normally sugar may have been used. next time I make these I am going to try and substitute whole wheat flour and see what happens. (I am currently out right now so unbleached all-purpose it was.)

Here is the recipe.

Apple & Honey Upside Down Muffins

* 3 apples
* 2 tbsp honey (the stronger the flavour the better, I used buckwheat)
* 2 tbsp cinnamon
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
* 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
* 1 tbsp baking powder
* 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk substitute
* 1/4 cup oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Liberally grease muffin tin.

Mix cinnamon and sugar. Measurements are approximate because I used leftover cinnamon sugar sprinkle from my blueberry muffins made from "The Joy of Cooking" 75th anniversary edition. Sprinkle generously over muffin tin so that each cup has a nice coating of cinnamon and sugar.

Peel and core first apple. Dice into tiny pieces and mix with honey. Spoon into muffin tin. You don't need a lot in each cup, one good sized apple diced should be enough.

Mix all remaining ingredients together at once. Don't over stir (muffins hate it when you do that). The batter is not nearly as runny as most don't be alarmed at its stickiness.

Spoon mixture evenly into tins.

Slice remaining 2 apples thinly leaving peel on. Cut out core as pictured below. Place over batter in each cup.

Bake about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean. (I used a non stick pan and this was the perfect amount of time you may need to adjust for different pan finish.)

Remove immediately from pan and let cool on rack. Makes 12 scrumptious muffins.

Apple & Honey Upside Down Muffins

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ahhh weekends, these are the things dreams are made of.

The weather this weekend has been truly wonderful. Cool crisp mornings perfect for farmers markets and long walks at the beaches and wonderfully warm sunny afternoons great for lounging outside and baking inside.

It was a wonderful weekend. I have the photos to prove it. We started out at the farmers market where it was kids day with the local health unit putting on small events like zucchini car races and a colouring contest.

Colouring @ the farmers market

We bought some great stuff. Buckwheat honey and apples which I used to make some upside down apple muffins. I also bought tomatillos but I have not quite figured out how I will use them. Some seriously sweet baked goods and whole wheat bread and of course cherry tomatoes for the wee one. Wednesday loves "tatoes".

We thought we were going to go to another market in "The County" (Prince Edward County) but instead ended up at Sandbanks Provincial Park and wandered along a rockier part of the beach. It was absolutely gorgeous.

@ The Beach

@ The Beach

Wednesday fell asleep for the long sunny drive home. When we got home I fought off a case of the dozies (from the sunny drive) but baking with the apples. In addition to the aforementioned muffins I baked an apple crisp with my mom's recipe but I did not know she doubles the topping and although it turned out okay, it was not awesome. Next time.

For giggles Ron and I went to the movies to see Whiteout. It was okay. I don't think I would tell anyone to spend thirty bucks on tickets and munchies to see it but definitely a renter. Kate Beckinsale looks a lot like Neve Campbell but thankfully she doesn't act like her. Because it is set in Antarctica it does not take too much to weed thorough the who-dunnit but still, not bad and I definitely liked hanging out with Ron.

Today we rose and ran early again. This time to walk the newly refurbished boardwalk at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. It was gorgeous. So...marshy. We did not get to see much wildlife but the scenery was beautiful and Wednesday loved running around. She managed to stay on the boardwalk the entire time, no trips or falls. When we walked through any wooded areas (or drove through later) she kept saying "Mommy, it's dark." Now, she is not afraid of the dark so I haven't any idea where that came from. she wasn't scared but felt the need to point it out, every single time there was heavy shade. Kids are so darn cute.

Speaking of cute...

Sundays are fun @ the Boardwalk

Sundays are fun @ the Boardwalk

The wee one is napping now. I think we are taking her to visit Ron's parents this afternoon. The home for lasagna and hopefully some sewing to share this week. If you like you can see more pictures from this weekend at my flickr photostream.

See you tomorrow for Mmm good Monday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dad's 50th Birthday Meatitarian Feast

Cheeseburger Cupcakes

For this weeks edition of Mmmm good Mondays I bring you Cheeseburger Cupcakes and a feast fit for any carnivore!

We themed the party "Meatitarian" after the Wendy's commercial. Ron and I are raising Wednesday vegetarian and we ourselves only eat meat rarely and when this commercial was released we recieved a couple phone calls from our family making reference to it. We decided to use it as the them to the dinner because my dad is always complaining about the lack of meat at dinnertime these days and I thought he would be able to appreciate a meat buffet.
The buffet consisted of dry rubbed and marinated for two days in a homemade sauce by Ron and then slow baked in the oven ribs, meatballs slow cooked in a crock pot in the same homemade bbq sauce, Sweet and spicy Thai chicken wings, two coleslaw (another homemade ginger sauce by Ron) type salads, bake potatoes, cheese bread, mac n' cheese bake and the Cheeseburger Cupcakes for desert.

The cupcakes were almost as big a hit as Ron's ribs. I got a lot of oohs and aahhs but Ron's ribs were eaten into extinction. I tried a couple meatballs and although the sauce was wonderful I cannot stand ground beef and it's meatballs counterparts. Give me a meatless meatball any day! I did manage to fill up on a bake potato with sour cream and some mac n' cheese. After the entire day in the kitchen making the cupcakes, I really was not that hungry anyway.

The cupcakes were inspired by this flickr tutorial set. I tweaked them a bit using brownie hamburgers (inspired by Martha's brownie cutouts from her Cupcakes book) and buttermilk in the vanilla cake mix (it was a *gasp* box mix) and I made my own vanilla icing recipe from Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. A tip: Dust your cookie cutter with cocao to cut out browine 'burgs. I used icing sugar without thinking first and can see where I am going with this.
Topped with some killer 5-0 shaped sparklers they were worth all of the effort.

Better than all of the cooking and baking though was having my family here. My sister and brother were here from Toronto for the night and my other brother came in from Kingston the day of the dinner. Very close friends of the family made it in from out of town for dinner and cake and it was great. Said friends even bought dad a t-shirt that went perfectly with the theme it said "There is room for all of God's creatures, right next to the mashed potatoes." I was sad when everyone had to start heading out hoping to beat the Sunday night traffic but I was exhausted at the same time. After battling that cold this month, having a child who now rises with the sun (literally) and company, visiting and baking I am truly exhausted. I slept like a rock last night and I just might nap with Wednesday in the next hour.

Then again, I might start another craft project because I am a glutton for punishment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Play Dates...

Today is Thursday and that means play date day! Wednesday and I both look forward to this day for essentially the same reasons. She loves her playmate Sydney and I love my mommy playdate Tara. We have a standing date on Thursday afternoons to get the kids together and let them run around like monkeys for a couple of hours. It just keeps getting better every week.

When we started the play dates the babes were a couple months shy of their second birthdays. They were well socialized with adults but not really kids, especially their own age. don't get me wrong, they were both great with others neither being biters or hitters or even snatchers of toys really. They just didn't have a lot of experience with kids of a like age. So we have tried to get them together once a week since mid summer with great success.

Each week we watch their development as children with both their cognitive and fine motor skills but even more so we see them develop socially with each other both on a superficial level but on a friendship sort of level as well. In the beginning they played in the same room or in the same yard but not so much with each other. One would play with a toy and they other would take an interest, that was about the level of interaction you could expect the first couple weeks. But as the weeks went on they would begin to participate in the same activities together until one day they were actually playing with each other. They would shout the same words for fun and shout at each other in jest. And now Wednesday not only knows where Sydney lives and asks to play with her but she talks to her on her play phones and in the truck when amusing herself. Sydney has become a part of Wednesday's life just like friends do.

This warms my heart to the core. I could ask for a more perfectly paced friendship to form. I love to watch their development as little people and likewise little social people. Sydney is a wonderful child who is quite bright and incredibly active. A more perfect playmate I think we could not ask for.

As for the mommy, well we have a bit of history (not really but kind of and all good) we knew each other briefly in high school so it was not so strange a meeting. The meeting as moms was arranged by a mutual best friend who had managed to stay friends with the both of us since high school. She set us up when she realized we lived just a couple blocks away from each other with little girls who were less than two months apart in age. Bless her heart.

More than having a mom who thinks and parents very very very similar to me (which is a blessing let me tell you) but she is around the age as me, a stay at home mom like me, reads many of the books as me and funny as heck. So it is not just about Wednesday having a radical playmate but me too. We can talk about mommy stuff and agree on just about everything, we can talk about non mommy stuff and if we don't agree we can agree to disagree. We have started a 'Mommy Movie Night' once a month. We went to see Inglorious Basterds last week and the night was great with good food and conversation and the movie was awesome with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino! We are hoping to see Sherlock Homes next but I am not sure when the release date is so who knows but whatever it is is will most likely be violent because we like it that way. She even gets along really well with Ron as sometimes he joins our play dates.

Speaking of Ron and husbands hers and mine also have a lot in common and get along well. So this toddler play date is slowly turning into family play dates and really that is what it is about right? Friendships on all levels. Support networks? Understanding your neighbor?

But sometimes, it is just about little girls being little girls.

water fun (19)
In June

Last month

Playdates and Popsicles
Last Week

Happy Thursday~!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cozy Wall Pockets ala Moi

Cozy Pockets

I am so excited to share this with everyone. It is my first finished project from Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home and it took only a couple of hours! I started cutting the fabric right before Wednesday went down for a nap and then my mom (bless her heart) took her for an outing shortly after she woke up and with about twenty minutes to spare I had the pockets cut, sewn and hung!

This was wonderfully simple. I used felt instead of the recommended wool blanket because wool is not so easy to come by around these parts. (I do have one blanket but I am saving that one for another project from the book.) I found this felt at value village on a second vintage linens scavenger hunt and thought it perfect for the job. It does not hang quite as heavy but because I made my organizer the length of a door instead of the original 38" it hangs quite nicely. I made sure to double stitch the pocket dividing lines to give them added strength. The only trouble I had was I pinned all of my pockets to the felt and then sewed instead of sewing pocket and then pinning another etc. They did not shift much at all and I am totally happy with the result. Here is the set on Flickr if you would like some more close up shots.

Cozy Pockets (7)

Cozy Pockets (11)

Don't the vintage linens look just wonderful together?! So very awesome. Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mmm good Mondays!

Happy Labour Day my fellow North Americans! And a very happy Monday to any readers from other parts of the globe!

It has been a whirlwind time here in Sweet Home Ontario and so I have a lot of posts to post and yet not enough time. As a way to help me organize my thoughts I thought I might give a theme to a few days of the week starting with today. Mondays are officially Mmm Good Mondays! and as a premier post I bring to you Pineapple Banana Muffins!

Pineapple Banana Muffins

Mmmmmm good right?

I recently had a lot of fresh pineapple around the kitchen that needed to be used up before it went to rot. This was a perfect way to use it up (that and dried pineapple flowers ala Martha Stewart). They took no time to make even without the help of my handy dandy Kitchen Aid counter top mixer. The muffins turned out perfect and lasted a couple days (I made two batches) tasting fresh(ish) right until the last muffin. Here is the recipe text copied from the Cathlin Cooks blog.

½ cup olive oil
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup pineapple

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla, and rum. Combine the mashed bananas and eggs in a separate bowl and add to the sugar mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir it into the banana mixture. Chop up a cup of fresh pineapple and add to batter. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and let cool in the tins before removing to cool completely.


As you can tell from the photo they turned out perfect and perfectly delicious. I would also like to point out it was tricky finding a recipe calling for fresh not canned pineapple and this one was worth the search.

Side note: As a child growing up i thought all pineapple tasted like that from a can. Was I surprised when I had my fist taste of fresh, perfectly ripened pineapple. I haven't been able to consider, let alone bake/cook with and or eat. But for at least twenty years prior I had no idea the deliciousness of a fresh pineapple. Crazy isn't it?!

Friday, September 4, 2009

(Recycled) Jersey-Velour Cloth Wipes Tutorial

Lovely Cloth Wipes I think.

As some of you know I cloth diaper my little girl. There was a time when I spent all of my spare money (which as a stay at home mom I do not come by with a desirable frequency) on diapers and accessories. I received two free bamboo velour wipes with a wetbag purchase one day and after just one swipe across a poopy bum I was sold. I proceeded to order a few ever couple weeks until i had enough to use as diapers, wash clothes and after meal cloths. And then the unthinkable happened; I lost almost all of my wipes in the move. Along with some diapers, wool pants and other cloth diapering goodies. I have been using the same six? since and let me tell you six do not go far when you use them for wash cloths as well. So when a mama on livejournal offered to sell me a couple yards at a good price jumped ta the chance to make my own. Yeah. Let me just say I am happy to be done. But! I am happy to have fourteen new wipes to wipe my snot nose with because just as I was finishing the wipes on day two I came down with a bigger, badder version of the cold Wednesday had at the beginning of the week.

I backed the wipes with repurposed t-shirts and a tank top. Sounds easy enough right? Wrong! Sewing stretch fabrics is not for the novice sewer I say. I say! I consider myself an okay seamstress. Amateur at best but the stretch fabrics took a level of patience I did not know I had. So I thought since I took pictures along the way I would turn it into a tutorial. "A tutorial for simple wipes?" you say? Well, more a tutorial for repurposing old clothes as wipes and some hints for sewing two stretch fabrics together.

Sew, on to the tutorial. For those of you who do not like scrolling through mega picture posts here is a link to the tute on my flickr.

gather ye materials

Old t-shirts and tank tops. Stains are really of no issue because wipes get stained, and fast. See that white and pink tank top? It is a ribbed a-line top. Don't use it. That fabric gave me the most trouble.

Cut and pin

Cut wipes to desired size plus seam allowance. Pieces pictures are roughly 8.5" square. Pin them right sides together. If you are using just t-shirts and no second fabric, you can turn the shirts inside out and trace the pattern on one side and cute two and go straight to pinning.

Pin some more...

When you have pinned enough. Add more. Stretch materials move...a lot!


Give yourself at least a 1/2" seam allowance and a one inch opening to turn the fabric right side out. I found putting the the opening in the middle of a side seam made sewing the seam and corner easier.


Because you are sewing stretch fabrics, and I can only assume you are a novice like myself because you are reading my tutorial you will most likely have to trim your edges a bit after sewing due to the stretch factor of the stretch fabric.

Turn out

Turn the fabric outside right and use a chopstick or something similar to get into the corners.

More pinning

After you have turned out your fabric and your corners look dandy pin the opening shut. I found an excessive amount of pins worked to keep the opening shut because sometimes I did not give myself enough of a seam allowance.

And yet more pinning

And yet more pinning. For serious. (It keeps the seem neatly between the two fabrics.)


Voila! A beautiful cloth wipe for your baby's bum or face and/or hands.

Rinse, repeat

Now, do that all again thirteen more times like I did!

Don't forget to take pictures...

Don't forget to take pictures like anyone but your mom cares!

If you want to when your done making your wipes you can add them to the flickr pool Love of Cloth.
Love of Cloth. Get yours at

EDIT: If you do not have the inclination to sew some yourself but are seduced by the brilliance of bamboo velour you can alway buy some from Sarah's Stitches. That is where I bought mine and the price is so reasonable that if I hadn't been recently obsessed with sewing I may have just bought more.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September already!

Bee-utiful flowers

This is Wednesday's mom telling you to get outside and smell the flowers before they are gone.

Happy Humpday!