Archive for October, 2010

This is not what I usually think of when I think Halloween, but this is what I woke up to this morning:

Snow in October is not unheard of….but snow that covers the ground and sticks to the trees in October?  Now that’s freaky!

They are calling for more of it tonight….I’ll have to be careful to say “Happy Halloween” and not “Merry Christmas” (although the skeletons and zombies about should help with that, poor snow-covered souls….)

I have to admit that I still find magic in the first snow fall of the year. 

Happy Halloween everyone!

Read Full Post »

I like to keep a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge for recording grocery items we need to buy.  This makes it easy to write down what we need, as we run out of it.  Otherwise I am bound to forget on grocery day just what it is we ran out of during the week. 

Unfortunately, I do not have much luck with magnetic pads.  In many cases the magnets stick to the fridge, but the paper doesn’t, pulling right off the magnetic back, so I have a whole collection of pads of paper and their corresponding magnetic backs, but still nothing on my fridge. 

This past year the problem was temporarily solved with a snowman paper pad I was given at Christmas that stuck perfectly.   The only downside to this was that Hubby, who does most of the grocery shopping, did not like walking through the store in mid-summer with a large piece of red-hatted snowman paper.  Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t about to give up a pad that worked so he suffered through (dear man.)

But I used the last snowman today.  😦

I also make more than one list as there are several places that we shop for food so I am constantly adding new pieces of paper to the fridge with the plain black magnets torn from the back of our useless paper pads.  Functional, but not pretty.

Looking at the pile of magnets and un-sticky paper pads this morning gave me an idea.  I set about reusing the magnets to make labelled paper holders for the fridge.  Check it out!

Now I have a list for everything, and no more papers falling off the fridge!

Here’s how I made them.

I began by tearing the cardboard backs from the useless pads of paper off of the magnets.

I then raided the scrap bin for fabric that coordinated with the kitchen.  This would also be a good project for scrapbook paper scraps, but I thought of the fabric first.

I then found some Mod Podge, a foam brush, a piece of fun foam leftover from a school project (although this would also be a good project for reusing cardboard), and a glue gun. 

The foam pieces were cut so they were just a little bigger than the biggest magnet.  Even though the magnets differed in size, I wanted the finished magnets to all be the same. 

I then cut the fabric scraps to be a bit bigger than the foam pieces. 

I used the Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the foam, wrapping it like a present to keep the corners neat. 

I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back of the magnet, covering the folded edges of the fabric.  (Handy Hint: make sure you glue the magnet magnetic-side up, instead of upside-down like I did….)

While the magnets were drying, I went down to the computer and printed off the names of the different lists in a pretty font.  If I had return-address sized labels I think they would have fit perfectly, but since I didn’t I used the shipping labels I already had and just cut them apart. 

I then stuck the labels to the front of the magnets and put them on the fridge. An easy way to use what I already had and be a little more organized.

And Hubby will be happy that he doesn’t have to take a snowman to the grocery store anymore!  🙂

Read Full Post »

A Little Halloween Fun

With Halloween only a few days away, tomorrow will be our Halloween celebration at school. 

I have a few fun surprises for my students tomorrow, including some pumpkin and spider inspired math games and a monster design lab in the afternoon.

And they are so excited about wearing their costumes to school!  So excited, that they convinced someone else to dress up.

And no…it wasn’t me (I didn’t need convincing.)

Meet Harold.  A childhood friend of hubby’s who made an appearance in my classroom as Dr. Shrinkle, the amazing mathematician who made patterns shrink with his magic shrinking suitcase.  It was love at first sight and my students have been showering him with so much love and affection that he thinks he is a superstar.  

And yesterday they convinced him to dress up as a pumpkin. 

He’s pretty cute, don’t you think?

I will be attending the festivities as the dormouse from Alice in Wonderland (all of the teachers at my school are going as characters from this book, with minimal costume pieces the students will have to guess what story we are all from).

The resident cat is modelling my ears and tail. 

This is one time of year when I am extra grateful for my sewing machine (and glue gun!)

Read Full Post »

Fall has arrived in earnest with it’s cooler temperatures, frosty mornings, and crunchy leaves. 

The kind of weather that makes you want to spend the day in the kitchen making toasty warm things.

And what better things to cook on a cool fall day than squash and cranberries?  I have an abundance of squash from the garden, and one of my students presented me with a huge bag of fresh-picked cranberries, and another bag of dried cranberries, from a cranberry farm his family owns.  (I know, I am very lucky!)

I tried two new recipes this week-end and they were both amazing.

For dinner I made Cornbread and Cranberry Stuffed Squash.  I made my cornbread partly with purple cornflour, hence the dark hue, but whatever the colour this was so delicious!  The perfect amount of bread and seasonings, and I wish you could have smelled the kitchen when I was making the stuffing – so yummy!

The second recipe was for Sourdough Muffins.  I have still not had a successful sourdough bread experience, but boy do I love my sourdough waffles, pancakes and crackers, and I have now added muffins onto the list of my favourites.  I made the muffins as described and then stirred in about a 1/2 cup of homemade cranberry sauce, along with some ginger and allspice.  I didn’t find the muffins sour tasting at all – just moist and spicy and full of cranberry goodness. 

As much as I hate to see the warm temperatures go, I do enjoy seasonal cooking! 

What are your fall favourites?

Read Full Post »

This fall has been busy, and with holidays fast approaching, it is going to get busier still.  Multiple creative projects are calling my name, begging to be worked on, but this week-end I knew I would have to put them off for another week.

When life is busy, things get piled up, pushed off, or left undone.  And that’s ok.  But every once in a while I need to take some time to regroup and reorganize.  Today was that day.  (and inviting friends over for games after dinner kept me going…nothing like a little motivation!)

I cleaned the kitchen closet. 

  Taking before pictures would have been a good idea –  it wasn’t horribly messy, but difficult to find what was needed, and there were plastic bags everywhere from when I went looking for one of a particular size one morning and left the others where they fell (turns out I didn’t have any in that size).  Now everything is neat and in order again.  I spent time organizing printed recipes into binders so that I can find them easier, and the second shelf has two piles of recipes that I want to try (no more printing until I work my way through those!  Do you think I can do it?) 

I cleaned out the fridge and re-organized the freezer.  No need to clean out the big freezer, this freezer inventory has saved my a lot of time in that respect. 

I made stock with the chickens and veggies piling up in my stock bag in the freezer. 

I tidied up the piles of books that were everywhere and folded up all the blankets on the couches. 

I revitalized my kombucha and kefir, and prepared the ingredients for making sourdough muffins and fruit and nut bars tomorrow morning. 

In between it all I baked bread and tried a new recipe for dinner. 

Despite a work-intensive today I feel refreshed and renewed by this cleaner, calmer space, and comforted by the knowledge of a full freezer and a pile of home-baked goods on the counter. 

Tomorrow I tackle the outside…. with the exception of the root vegetable box, it will probably be my last gardening day until the spring.

How do you keep things organized at your house?

Read Full Post »

After being inspired by sweaters I thought it was time to do something with the old jeans that were piling up.  I knew I wanted to make pillows, and then I came across a picture of a pillow with a remote pocket.  Perfect!  A few hours and 4 pairs of jeans later, they were done.

No more wondering where the remote is…..

Read Full Post »

Sweater Friends

One of the things I really wanted to do when I first started to get into sewing, and thinking about a sewing business, was to learn how to turn things that had outlived their purpose into something new and useful.   The Laundryontheline sentiment strikes again as I dream of being more like my (mythical?) penny-pinching, earth-saving,  waste-not want-not ancestors.  (Actually, this is not a myth where my grandmother is concerned, I can attest to that having inherited the piles of zippers and buttons that she carefully saved from years and years of worn clothing…)

 And so it is that I have saved every worn sweater and pair of jeans (the ones that for one reason or another aren’t in good enough condition to donate) for that day when I was ready to create something wonderful and new out of them.

That day was Saturday.  And I’m pretty happy with what I came up with, although I’m not sure about the useful part…. 

My inspiration started from here (you will see some similarities) and then I branched out into other animals.  There was one casualty along the way.  One blue elephant that just didn’t work out.  I have learned from that experience that ribbed cotton sweaters are too stretchy for animals that require some structure.   He would have made a very nice octopus if he had had more legs!

I’m pretty happy with this little menagerie and I think I might just have to make a few more (after all, there are still sweaters in the pile!)

Read Full Post »

I love bruschetta.  I have made it myself and eaten it in many restaurants but my father definitely makes it best.  Chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil, marinated for several hours to let the flavours blend, slightly warmed and served on perfectly toasted bread.  Yum.  It’s never quite as good when I make it, but still a favourite. 

So last week when the kitchen was overflowing with tomatoes it seemed like a good thing to make.  But I also had a lot of zucchini to eat up.  So I decided that instead of using bread, I would make the tomato topping and stuff it in the zukes with a little goat cheese and bake it in the oven.  Simple, quick, and a good way to make use of the garden produce.

Technically, by the Italian definition, this dish can no longer be referred to as bruschetta, because by my understanding the word refers to grilled bread with garlic and olive oil, and can include a number of different toppings.  However, in North America, the term is often used to indicate the tomato topping, whether or not it is currently residing on toast.  So, my recipe title makes sense to me, but if you are a stickler for proper language use feel free to call it Tomato-Garlic-Onion-Basil-and-Cheese stuffed Zucchini, or whatever variation you find suitable.

Enough semantics, on to the food!

Bruschetta-Stuffed Zucchini

Start with a nice fresh tomato, or a few handfuls of grape tomatoes.  Cut into small pieces and place into a glass bowl.


Finely chop a small onion (I used red, but any onion will do, even green onions) and add it to the bowl.  Mince as much garlic as you like (I used one, very large clove for lots of garlicky flavour).  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add some chopped basil leaves.  Set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take a medium zucchini, slice it lengthwise, and remove the seeds. 

Fill the zucchini with the tomato mixture.

Top with sliced goat cheese.  Freshly grated parmesan would also be nice if you don’t have any goat’s cheese. 

Bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and the cheese melted. 


Read Full Post »

Another Quilt Finished!

At the moment I have a few too many quilts laying half-finished on my sewing room floor.  And a backlog of other projects that were put on hold during the back-to-school, harvest-the-garden rush.  But now that things are back to normal their usual level of  craziness, I have found a few minutes here and there to finish one of the quilts.

This is what I call a cuddle quilt.  Cotton flannel top, and polar fleece bottom. 

I cut the little 3-inch squares from scraps every time I make a flannel project and then when I have a big enough stack I turn them into a quilt.  This is the first time I have used large squares along with the smaller ones and I like the way it looks. 

It is quilted with a wavy free-motion stitch in purple thread!  I don’t usually like to use colours that really stand out, but I am getting more confident with my quilting and I love the way the purple blends with all of the colours.

The back is pieced from four pieces of fleece.  I really do love a pieced back on a quilt.  It just makes it that much more special. 

The binding is, of course, hand-stitched to the back.  Each time I am sitting for hours with needle and thread I start to wonder just how bad a machine-stitched edge would be???  But I persevere, and in the end I know that this last finishing touch is worth all of the time it takes.  And my grandmother would be proud.

Read Full Post »

Casserole Carrier

I am so blessed to have such wonderful family.  Hubby and I spent thanksgiving with his brother and his wonderful wife.  While the two men spent their days playing video games, we worked on a few sewing projects together.  As I know very few people who sew,  it was really nice to spend time with someone else who shares an interest in sewing and we were both excited with what we were able to accomplish in a week-end. 

This casserole carrier from One Yard Wonders was definitely the star of our efforts:

Didn’t she pick out beautiful fabric?  I can’t believe how well it matches with her casserole dish.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern (of course!)  Her fabric store did not sell wide binding tape so on the inner circle we used the thinner tape with ribbon instead of cording without a problem.  However, I did not want to attempt sewing through several layers of batting and fabric around the whole outside with the narrow binding and hope that it held the weight of the heavy dish.  Instead I just put all the pieces right-sides together and sewed around with a 1/2″ seam.    We turned it right-side out and voila! a beautiful casserole carrier.  I think it looks fine without the extra binding around the outside.  If I make this again I would definitely do the same thing, whether I had the wide binding or not. 

 I must admit that this pattern was a little more complicated than it seemed at first glance.  About halfway into it we were both wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.  But now that I see the finished product, I definitely think I need one for my kitchen, too.  Perseverance pays off!

Can’t you imagine just how wonderful it would feel to bring this to your next pot-luck?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »