Friday, July 29, 2011



We have never tried any sort of pickling or canning, but I have been feeling the urge to branch out.  Since April, I have been carrying around a “perfect pickle” recipe which was featured Country Living Magazine (April 2010).  It actually comes from Judith Fertig’s recipe book Heartland.  I doubled the recipe.IMG_7786

The pickles are garlicky, but also have a sweetness.  I broke it down and I figure there is about 1/2 cup of sugar for each 500 jar of pickles!

I used Ontario garlic. It was huge and flavourful.


According to the recipe the pickles can last 1 year in the fridge.  We are already on our 3rd jar, so I don’t think there is any chance of holding out that long.

Have you tried pickling? If you have any easy recipes to share, please let me know. I am thinking about trying beets. I really love beets and one my daughters enjoys beet salad.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I am seeing the light on the basement project.  It has been a good exercise.  I did a very bad thing accumulating far too much fabric.  I am going to make some resolutions about that. soon.

Today is July 29th.  I am reflecting about 30 years ago when all the little girls on our sleepy  street were up very very early to watch a certain princess.  In my thrifty adventures last week, I found this tin commemorative plate. Perfect for the girls’ tea set.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blue Mason Jars

I took the week off the day job and while the girls have been at day camp,  I have been working on our basement trying to create a sewing space and small playroom.  My husband and I started this project about 7 years ago and lost steam.  Tiring work (moving stuff, standing drywall, priming, and finally painting).  My body aches.  I hope to be finished by Friday. 
It’s not all work and no play.   There has been alot of fun.  Making big bubbles.IMG_7842
Evangeline Hope loves bubbles so much.  I made her a little bubble station out of an old plastic bicycle basket zip-tied to the fence. The basket holds her assortment of bubble wands and potions.  She loves it.
IMG_7836 We also made a water balloon pinata for a dinner party the other evening.
IMG_7818I took a little break from my dust mask to try a DIY that has been on my list for a very long time. I love to give flowers in mason jars. I have never been fortunate to find a blue Ball mason jar.  They are certainly not plentiful in Toronto second hand shops.  So when I saw this project on Bridal Buzz I had to give it a go.  I have worked on five jars so far. It takes a little practice so that your brushstrokes don’t show. It is also tricky to get the right consistency between the blue and the thinner.  These photos actually show a little lighter than they really are.  I may make my next batch a little more aqua. It is a fine line.
I hope you are having a great week!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Teaching kids to hand-stitch on burlap

We had an Oprah a-ha moment this weekend. Lily said she wanted to learn to “hand sew”, this has been an ongoing process ( I posted about our warm-up attempts using various means such as lacing cards, lacing fortune cookies, and fruit mesh).
I recalled that my sister taught a class to stitch on burlap. This was a medieval theme.  I think the children were about 8 years old.  Can you believe they put together these beauties?
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For our workshop, I  cut up some white burlap, red yarn and large needle with very brief instructions.  At first I held the burlap but then she was on her own. She decided she would do a playing card series.  She is really interested in play cards (??).  She drew the outlines of a club and heart.  She’s still working on the spade and diamond. 

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So proud, she showed the neighbours!
I can’t believe she did this all herself. It has left me giddy!
IMG_7857Have a lovely week! This post is linked to

Beneath the Rowan Tree


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crafting with Kids: Vacation Crafts

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My sister is vacationing in Florida. She sent me some photos of a sweet little craft my nephew made at Weather Camp.  It is a cardboard tube sandcastle. It is fairly self explanatory.  Cut a variety of tubes into turrets, brush on some glue and decorate with sand and shells.


photo 1 Pretty realistic, non?

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While I am on the subject of vacation crafting, there is a delightful chapter on vacation crafts in my 1975 Sunset Crafts for Children (you may recall I posted about this vintage craft book here).

Don’t you love this idea of making souvenir rubbings from monuments you see on vacation?


We tried these painted walking sticks this past weekend.  Our dog brings  home lots of sticks so the supplies were easy.


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Here is a peak at our painted walking stick.


Do you craft on vacation?   Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

T-Shirt Nightgowns


I am trying not to engage in unnecessary sewing as I am working on three flower girl dresses (a.k.a. the lavender eyelet project), but I thought I would share some instantly gratifying and useful sewing. 

The girls have 3 night gowns that they share between them and the nightie shortage has caused quite a bit of fighting when one doesn't get to wear a “gown”.   

There are a number of clever takes on the t-shirt nightgown.  I really liked this easy tutorial from Beneath the Rowan Tree.   The shirts were donated from my husband and brother-in-law.

Daddy’s 2010 World Cup shirt

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The Uncle’s Tampa Bay Skate Park shirt transformed


Perfect for the hot and sticky nights and no more fighting over the Sleeping Beauty nightie!



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Edith Nesbit's The Railway Children

Who's she? said Phyllis.
The train, of course, said the Porter. After that the train was never "It" to the children.

- E. Nesbit, The Railway Children, Chapter 3

Vickie - the set of the Railway Children (Toronto)
Back in May we had a chance to tour the set of the Railway Children at the public open house.   The theater has been built especially for this production and is located at the bottom of the CN Tower next to the CN railway museum.

Today, we saw the theatrical production. It was amazing.  I don't know how it took me nearly 39 years to discover this story.  I just finished the novel and to prepare for the performance, we borrowed the video (1970 version) and audio book from the library. I didn't take Evangeline Hope, only Lily. I think that was a wise choice, it was almost sweltering in the theatre and with a running time of close to 2.5 hours, I am not certain  a 3 year old would make it! 

The story is absolutely heartwarming { there is a short synopsis on the theatre's site.}   The story is the sort of story that just leaves you smiling.  Wishing you a great week,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thrifty Adventures: Picnic Blanket

High on my well-intentioned summer sewing was the Fit for a Princess Picnic Quilt , but the project has been moved back in the cue because of a more pressing project involving 6 yards of lavender eyelet.

I was feeling sort of blue (probably more embarrassed given the huge fabric stash) that we didn't have a fun picnic quilt to use on soccer night so I improvised.  I found a really neat tablecloth at Value Village (the fabric is canvas weight) with map of Florida, one of my favourite spots (lots of vacation memories spanning 3.5 decades).   

{In case you're interestest, my thrifty adventures usually go something like this: direct beeline to the tablecloths and linens, then to the sewing supplies, next little girl dresses', peruse the books, a  quick drive by of the toys and board games, and a last peak at the baking tins before hitting the checkout - what's your m.o.?}  

I used the Cottage Mama's tutorial and added a vinyl tablecloth to the back to make it waterproof. 
Instead of two ties, I used one tie and a D-ring.  All rolled up.

I love instant gratification projects! 
This post is linked to