Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hot Cross Buns



I have always loved hot cross buns.  My dad gave me my first Mother Goose book in 1975, and “hot cross buns” was one of my favourite nursery rhymes.


Awhile back, I spotted some examples of felt hot cross buns on Etsy and wanted to make my own. I thought they would be a cute Easter gift.  I have been working on these little buns for the past couple of weeks. {I find these sort of hand stitching projects a welcome distraction!}


    The Victorian “Hot Cross Buns" graphic is from Happy Holidays. My pal gave me a bunch of Happy Easter felt stickers so I was able to repurpose a baking box - I always hold on to these window baking boxes.



If you are interested in the history of hot cross buns, Lavendar and Lovage has an excellent post as well as baking tips.  I plan to make these buns with my girls on Good Friday. 

{As for the felt version, they are really easy. I just cut two pieces of dark brown felt the size of a tuna can, machine stitched cream felt crosses to the tops and used a hand blanket stitch around the perimeter, leaving a hole to stuff. The currants are black 3D fabric paint.}

Happy crafting and thanks for stopping by,


Monday, March 26, 2012

Crafting with my kids: Faberge Eggs

Photo edited with

I have been teaching the girls about the Imperial Eggs and the story of Carl Faberge. I had a chance to see just a handful of these eggs on display when I visited the Armoury Museum at the Kremlin years ago.  Most of the 42 surviving Imperial Eggs are in private collections, but some are on public display around the world.   

One of my favourites of the Imperial eggs - which I have only seen in books - is the Lilies of the Valley Egg.


Image Via  Treasures of Imperial Russia (this book has photographs of many eggs)

The Faberge website has a very good introduction to story of the Imperial Eggs as well as its current collection.  A couple of weeks ago the house of unveiled its Diamond Jubilee Egg!


  For our Faberge-inspired masterpieces, we used styrofoam eggs, paint, glitter confetti and craft jewel stickers.


The girls painted the eggs.  To dry, just stick a tooth pick on the end of the egg and use a scrap piece of styrofoam as a drying space.



Then apply your bling!


and stand back and admire your artistry!

Photo edited with

Photo edited with

{to achieve the stardust effect use the Tuxpi photo editor – thanks for the tip Kim}


Happy crafting and thanks for stopping by, this post is linked to For the Kids Friday


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Traditions: Trip to the Sugar Bush

One of our family seasonal celebrations and traditions is a trip to the maple sugar bush.    I don’t recall ever visiting the sugar bush and not having to wear a coat.
Maple syrup tapping actually started much earlier this year due to unseasonably high temperatures(some bushes reported taps flowing in the first week of February) .  For sap to run, there must be nights below freezing and daytime temperatures around 4 of 5 degrees C.  When day and night temperatures are consistently above zero, the sap no longer runs.  The Ottawa Citizen reported yesterday that the maple syrup season came to an abrupt halt when the trees started budding and temperatures reached over twenty degrees.
This year we visited the Purple Woods Maple Syrup Festival and enjoyed a pancake breakfast.   On the trail, the girls were able to learn about the Iroquois account of maple syrup’s discovery.
There was also an excellent early settlers demonstration and maple butter tasting.
Someone is having a Little House on the Prairie moment {hey look Mummy, I’m Laura}
The early settlers would boil the sap (which is clear at first) for about five days to get syrup (or even longer to get sugar). 
I found it interesting that Lily felt the best part of the outing was the opportunity to try spinning wool at the early settlers’ demonstration. The girls had a chance to card wool …
IMG_8990 and try the spinning wheel (this was a treadle wheel). This is not the sort of spinning wheel that has a sharp spindle (the sort Aurora pricked her finger on was probably a walking wheel). 
Thanks for reading and happy spring,

Friday, March 16, 2012


This month, I participated in the March stitch-a-long over at feeling stitchy.
{Design by Wild Olive}
When I was in Mexico I was hoping to see some traditional pinatas …
made me smile...:)

Have a lovely weekend, thanks for reading and thank you very much for the kind feedback regarding the swimsuit post.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Channelling Esther Williams

This post has nothing to do with craft and not something I generally post about, but maybe someone might be interested.

As a rule, I don’t clothes shop online. I certainly browse online, but rarely purchase.  After two babies, I can’t rely on anything to fit and prefer to try it on in advance before making a purchase (I don’t like making returns). Anyway, I broke my rule and purchased a swimsuit online.  When I told people about what I did they were interested in hearing more.


Image Via ModCloth

I really hate swimsuit shopping, more so after having never returned to my pre-pregnancy shape.   For the past decade, I have purchased swimsuits at two reliable retailers in my office tower.  I would quickly go in try something on and leave. Unfortunately, both shops disappeared due to a changing retail situation.   For this past vacation, I really needed a new suit as mine had disintegrated.   I decided to find one online.  I also only wear one pieces which are apparently a little out of vogue right now.

The first suit I purchased was the “Viola Suit” by Shabby Apple, however, the company made an inventory error so it never arrived – I did receive a refund. {I actually spotted this particular suit on one of Little Treasure’s great style pinterest board (here)}.

My sister then pointed out to me that Gilt was having a sale on Spanx swim suits. I immediately thought, “Spanx makes a swimsuit??? sign me up!”  Unfortunately, there were very few one pieces and not one was in my size.

I then found ModCloth. I am not very familiar with this shop, but decided to give it a try because they were featuring a line of retro inspired Esther Williams swimsuits.  I read each every one of the 130+ reviews concerning the “Bathing Beauty One Piece in Cherry Pie” before taking the plunge. {Apparently, ModCloth ships to Canada as well, although I shipped this suit to the States}.

I used the sizing information and purchased a size up just like most of the reviewers recommended and I am very pleased. It comes in both regular and plus sizes and so well made (made in the USA).  If you are kind of sensitive about your tummy as I am – the front is lined twice and ruched and hides imperfections well.  I am only hand washing the suit (there is boning material in the sides).

Lily was very nice and said I reminded her of Debbie Reynolds from Tammy and the Bachelor.  {She loves Debbie Reynolds, and even more so when she found out she is Princess Leia’s real life mummy}. My husband said I reminded him of Gidget (who I adore).

So here is it is (well the cropped version sporting 60+ SPF) - I think I was the only person wearing a one piece at the resort!


{I strategically placed the sun hat over my head to avoid being identified in any “I hope I don’t look like this when I am forty” pin boards.}

The gingham sun hat  is the Martha Stewart sun hat pattern. It is a bit floppier than the ones I have made in the past.  I recommend using heavier canvass weight.  IMG_8815

Like I said, I don’t normally post about these matters, but I wanted to share this positive experience for any of you who dislike swimsuit shopping.  I also went on to purchase another suit  (ruched halter tank) online this time from JCrew and also had a great experience in terms of fit – although that suit is not as unique.

If you have had a great online swimsuit shopping experience, I would love to hear about it.  I feel like I have discovered a whole new world.

Have a great day,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tallulah Halter Dress

{Seems like I haven’t reported on a sewing project in ages.  It’s not that I haven’t been sewing (I have), it’s just no photos that I am  happy with.}
Anyway, this is a dress from the book Girl’s World designed by Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom.  I received the book for Christmas, but I had not attempted any of the projects. A couple of sewing bloggers I read have stitched up this dress for their daughters (examples here and here) and I thought I would give it a try in size small and medium.   Both dresses are quite roomy for my daughters - who are a solid size 5 and 7.  I decided not to make any adjustments and wait until summer. All seams were finished with a serger.
The fabric is an old sheet. You may recall this print in your mum’s 70s linen closet.
It is the perfect frock to fly a kite with your daddy on your 4th birthday.
…or a good read.
Have a great day!
This post is linked to


Monday, March 12, 2012



I wanted to post about our Xcaret experience (pronounced sometimes ish-care-it or ex-caret).  Xcaret is an ecological park on the Mayan Riveria.  The park was about a 60 km drive from our Cancun accommodation, but well worth it and a wonderful opportunity to explore Mexico’s wildlife (particularly endangered species) and Mayan/pre-Hispanic history.

Lily especially enjoyed seeing the macaws.  During the past six years, over 750 red macaws have reproduced at Xcaret.


The girls also had a chance to release a sea turtle, as part of the sea turtle conservation program.


Lily named the turtle Leo and it was announced over the loud speaker (five seconds of fame).




…Leo swimming away for a new life.

IMG_8705 As a family, we completed the underground river swim – from time to time you may see pinners pin this particular swim on their travel pinterest boards. The rivers are salt water and “part of a large cave system that forms deep under the surface of the Yucatan peninsula.” 


The snorkel swim takes about 45 minutes to complete, the girls were very proud when they finished.  Here is a shot of Evangeline Hope and I.


Here are the Papatla Flying Men – a pre-Hispanic ritual.


Over lunch, the band played while we gorged ourselves on tacos, habaneros, and guac.


There are two chapels on the park. The St. Francis D’Assisi and the Chapel of Guadalupe.    The St. Francis chapel is located on the park’s highest point, whereas the Chapel of Guadalupe descends underground and the altar is surrounded by one of the underground rivers.



This is a just a small snippet of our Xcaret experience.  I have not shared photos of all of the wildlife, you will have to see it for yourself!   


Thanks for stopping by,