May 31, 2013

In which I have a teapot that matches my teacups

A few weekends ago, my family joined me in the city for a little trip out to St. Jacobs. It was a delightful time; so very good to see my sister and parents for a few hours after so many months in their absence.

St. Jacobs is a lovely little town located in Southern Ontario, Canada. It is well known for it's Farmers' Market, and quaint small-town strip filled with antique shops, rustic home decor shops, and omish quilts. My favourite was a general store type shop with teapots displayed in every colour of the rainbow. Obviously, a teapot was purchased that day.

It's the perfect match!

The day was also a perfect one for a candid photo of K. and Pops as they posed in front of an outdoor painting:

We finished off the day back at my house with hamburgers made by K., coffee, and some dutch food treats that Mom brought from home. Perfection.

May 20, 2013

How does your garden grow?

Until recently, I had no ambition to try and grow anything except for my clothing collection. Not flowers, not vegetables, not herbs. It didn't make a whole lot of sense since my Dad used to have a rather impressive vegetable garden inhabiting the back half of our yard. He grew rows and rows and rows and rows...and rows.. of green and yellow beans, which would then be picked and frozen to eat during the winter months. He would have cherry and normal sized tomatoes, peppers, and once I believe he tried to grow strawberries which ended up as a snack for the birds.

He also planted sunflowers.
And gladiolas.

So, gardening is in my family. I am going to just come out and make the assumption that, until this year, I had neither the ambition, nor the means to make a decent garden. It is, after all, a little difficult to grow tomatoes when you are working at a camp or living in a dorm room.

It surprised me, more than anyone, that I suddenly have this overwhelming urge to turn my world into a green and growing paradise. So, because of my unfortunate lack of funds, I have jumped on the kitchen-scrap-garden bandwagon and taken to trying my own experiments in mason jars and small planters on the jane-eyre window sill of our dining room.

 First up is the green onions and romaine lettuce plants.

Green onion is easy. You save the bottoms, stick them in a jar or cup, immerse in water, and wait. Within a week they will have have regrown to near their original height (provided you've found a sunny place) and then you can keep chopping off what you need when you need it. I've harvested from these probably 5 times already, and they just keep growing.

The romaine lettuce I started today. I need to keep the bottom immersed in water until they begin to regrow roots, and then they will be transplanted into a pot.

Well, specifically this pot.

The celery currently inhabiting the one side was in the mason jar which now hold the lettuce. It finally started developing roots, and I transplanted it into this smallish black window planter this morning. I used a clotheshanger to make the sign (and you will notice that clothespins were also used to make the signs for the lettuce and green onions).

Now. Side story.
I tried growing peppers from seeds in my peppers. Turns out that doesn't work. I started the seedlings in an egg carton in April (like Pinterest told me) in a mix of potting mix and garden soil. I tried everything to get them to grow. I watered them every day, I put them in sunlight, I danced for them, and I even played them a healthy dose of Jack Johnson in the hopes that their little seedlings spirits would be filled with springtime joy - images of birds and bees and ladybugs and sitting by the lakeside soaking up the sunshine and listening to Bob Marley...

Turns out, my pepper seeds had no imagination and no capability to grow. I gave up and surrendered them to decompost in the backyard.

Adding some ribbon and twine to the outsides of the mason jars (and just ribbon to the pot) has given these a fun inside touch.

This week I plan on fixing this:

Cite our horrendous backyard.

What you can't see is the sprouting grass which is starting to come up after this week's rainstorms. We are supposed to be getting more rain tonight and tomorrow, so hopefully that will prompt the stubborn grass to grow in our poor, dusty backyard.

I also put bulbs in the fridge this week that I plan on pulling out mid-July and trying to grow again.

'Tis the season, I suppose.

May 11, 2013

An Open Letter to Moms...and my Mom!

I don't know about you, but my mom is pretty great. It took me a long time to realize that I love her as much as I do, but now that I pretty much think she is the greatest role model I have had in my life, I want to give her a shout out this Mother's Day (something I have not always been super eloquent about).

So Mom: Happy Mother's Day.

Please pay attention to the meatloaf part.

Seriously. I love you, but I have never loved your meatloaf.

And Mom: I still have trouble with laces. Always have, always will. What can I say, growing up was tough!

And in case there was any doubt, I love you so much that I keep all of my favourite moments of you close to my heart, secured on a hard-drive where I can access them for times like these.

Happy Mother's Day.

Without you, I would not be possible.


May 4, 2013

The Mini Chocolate-Chip Cookie

Hello friends!

Today I wanted to share with you my favourite Chocolate-Chip cookie recipe.

It seems that everyone has their own recipe for Chocolate-Chip cookies. It's probably because they are the most popular (and one of the easiest) types of cookies to make. They are really designed for the novice baker to succeed at. So clearly the cookies are something even I could handle.

What you'll need:

3/4 cups margarine (I use Becel's Olive Oil margarine.)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Chipits bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup Chipits mini bittersweet chocolate chips

Optional: 3/4 cup walnuts or dried bananas. I have made these cookies with both.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

On your laptop, put on an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Mix margarine and sugars until mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until creamy. I used a fork, but you can also use a handheld blender.

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together thoroughly. Then add to the wet mixture.

Add chocolate chips, walnuts, and/or banana peices.

Using a teaspon, place dough on ungreased cookie sheet, spacing them apart evenly. Do not flatten.

Bake for 8-10 mins.

I used a really large cookie sheet, so I got 20 cookies on it. The recipe should make 3-4 dozen depending on the amount of ingredients you use (ie. the recipe will go further if you add other tasty things: dried cranberries, nuts, etc.).

If Grey's Anatomy isn't your thing, I suggest listening to these songs whilst waiting for those cookies to bake.


Happy Baking, friends!

May 3, 2013

Craftin' Cards

In the last 10 years of my life my mom has gotten me hooked on a wide variety of handmade hobbies, one of which is card-making.

So, taking advantage of the natural sunlight on the main floor this morning (and my restful day off work), I set to work on restocking my handmade card supply. Here is some of what I worked on.

Some of these are projects I started a while ago and just never bothered to finish. Most of them were half constructed cards that I had placed in plastic baggies in order to keep all the intended parts together. Once upon a time, I had accumulated many stacks of paper, boxes of stamps and ribbon, and ink pads when the hobby was fresh in my being. That was probably 5-6 years ago. Being in school really put my hobbies on hold, since all my creative energies were being used on essays.

So this morning, it was time to catch up. It really looks like more work than it actually was. But the morning sunshine was streaming through the windows and I couldn't help but take the time to finish these.

The materials used are a combination of products purchased from Michaels, Stampin' Up, or 'borrowed' from my mom's stash back in the hometown. Most of the brads were purchased at Walmart of Dollarama back when I had the time and funds to pour into it.  But, as it turns out, I am NOT lacking on supplies to keep the hobby going. I am even considering bringing my stuff into my room and revising the layout of my bedroom in order to set up a crafting corner (in an effort to turn the dining room back into an actual dining room).

What sort of things have you been working on? What is the spring sunshine inspiring you to do?