Surprise Baby Parcel

With Canada Day tomorrow I thought what a perfect time for this post!

 

One thing I think everyone enjoys is getting mail when you are not expecting it, of course this does not apply to bills…yuck! I personally love creating parcels to surprise family and friends. So when I found out that my cousin who now lives in Germany was expecting his first child, my sisters and I came up with the idea to send him a Canada themed surprise baby parcel. This was so much fun to come up with ideas of what to purchase or create especially knowing that our very proudly Canadian cousin would appreciate everything in it however cliche it was. IMG_3138

What we had come up with was a homemade knit Hudson Bay inspired baby blanket, crochet Moose, anorak jacket and not pictured baby wrap moccasins. We also purchased cute Hudson Bay baby mitts and tea towel, mini moose license plate, baby hat, two of our favourite (non Canadian) authors, Robert Munch mini books and of course the classic Maple Syrup.

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Although it reached them a little after he made his early arrival, it was a wonderful surprise for the growing family.

Play Dough

I always found it odd when people would purchase play dough because growing up my mom would always make it. So for this upcoming Easter I decided to make some homemade play dough to give to some friends.

This recipe is not only super easy to make, it also lasts a minimum of 6 weeks, but can last longer if you keep it wrapped up well and in an airtight container.

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Play Dough

  • Servings: Makes 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Will last at least 5-6 weeks and longer if wrapped up well and stored in an air tight container.

You can add glitter or other textural elements in addition to food colouring.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Salt
  • 4 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 cups water
  • Food Colouring

Directions

  • If you are wanting to make the entire batch one colour you can add the food colouring to the water before mixing the water and oil with the above mixture.
  • You can colour one batch several colours after cooking it by kneading the colour into the dough.

In a medium pot combine flour, salt and cream of tartar.

Mix in the water and oil and cook on medium heat stirring constantly for about 4 minutes or until the dough doesn’t stick to the back of the spoon.

If making play dough into several colours then let the dough cool a little and divide dough into the amount of colours you want to make ( I suggest 3). Knead colour into the dough by either placing the dough and food colouring into a plastic bag and knead until dough is fully coloured or by kneading on a covered surface while wearing plastic gloves.

Once cooled completely place the dough into ziplock bags or wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

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Happy creating everyone!

 

Paper Banner

I like many people LOVE Harry Potter and I was having a friend come and visit me over the weekend and with her also being a big Harry Potter fan I thought I should make her something because… why not! So I happen to have a roughed up copy of the first Harry Potter book and so I decided to create a Harry Potter banner which was inspired by the Archie Comic banner I have having on my wall. So off I go rummaging around my apartment for a ruler, cutting mat, exacto knife, scissor, glue stick and beading thread. Once I was able to find everything which included chasing my cat Newt around trying to get the spool of thread he was playing, I got down to work.

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I used the ruler to help me get a nice straight cut with the exacto knife and took out 20 pages to use for my banner. From there I measured the width of the page on the bottom and marked a tick the the centre. From there I used my ruler to act as guide for my knife lining up the ruler from the centre tick to the top edge and cut out my triangular pieces. I also being the weirdo that I am decided to use some of my gold ink to underline any Harry Potter-esq words that were on the page i.e. Harry Potter, Dudley, Uncle Vernon etc. Once dry I folded the top quarter inch of the triangle down to create the flap that I will glue down.

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Once I had my stack of triangles with the tops folded I grabbed a scrap piece of paper and my beading thread. I knotted a loop at the start of the thread and just worked off the of spool. Using a glue stick a glued the folded flap and inserted the beading thread along the width of the inside folded edge of the triangle. Pressed down well to make sure the glue flap is secured well and did the same to the other 19 triangles, ending with another tied loop at the end to make it a bit easier to put up.

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Keep in mind the way you are gluing down the flaps as you want them all on the same side!

Once all the glue is dry and hang enjoy!

Happy crafting everyone!

Like A Hug Ho-Cho

What is winter but a perfect excuse to wrap yourself up in a blanket with a good book and a mug of homemade hot chocolate or… you can be me on a Saturday and enjoy some lovely hot chocolate while doing some school work!

The best part about this recipe is that you can make a huge jar of the mixture and just scoop out the amount per mug that you want to use at the moment.

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A perfect beverage for a cold winter day.

You can easily make this into instant hot chocolate by adding 1 cup + 2 Tbsp of milk powder!

Ingredients

For the mix:

1/4 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Sugar (preferably cane sugar)

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

To Make:

Ho-cho mix

Milk

Vanilla Extract

Directions

Keep adding the measurements in a container until full, mix well.

To make a lovely cup of Ho-Cho heat a mug of milk (or an amount of milk for several mugs) in a pot then add 1-2 heaping tbsp of ho-cho mixture for each mug you are making. Please not that the amount of mixture you put in is to your taste! Add a splash of vanilla extract and whisk the contents of the pot until everything is combined and the temperature is to your liking.

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Sip away and enjoy the day!

 

Cozying Up In Winter

I LOVE winter… second to autumn, partly because I tend to run hot so I am far more comfortable in colder weather. Also because I adore wearing layers, sweaters, colourful scarves, mitts, and hats are amazing. But I think what I love the most is the feeling of winter, cozying up with a mug of something warm and crafting.

 

What I have been working on for the past few weeks is an afghan. I have been teaching myself to crochet so thought why not go big and attempt to crochet an afghan for my mom. What I have been using for reference ( stitching techniques as well as pattern ideas) is the Crochet: The Complete Guide .  I found the instructions clear and concise and love that in addition to the written instructions for the pattern they also have the pattern in a chart form, which I find far easier to understand. The Pattern I choose was 42 Ocean Swells on pg. 92, a pattern that seemed to have more detail then then other patterns featured in the book before it.

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In the final afghan I used almost 2 balls of Red Heart yarn in 16oz. balls, and it took about 3 weeks to make (very dedicated weeks). The final result measures about 40×60″.

You can find the pattern online on Ravelry or this exact pattern through Pinterest .

Happy Crafting everyone!

Knitting and Crochet Markers

Although I am fully embracing the new season with the warmer temperatures and brighter days, there are still gloomy days and what better to do then to knit or crochet.

My Gramma was a wonderful knitter and tired to teach me to knit which proved rather difficult as she was right handed and I am left handed however, I did end up picking up crocheting leaving the knitting lessons to for my sisters.

My older sister Sandy got my Grammas knitting genes because she has become a wonderful knitter as well. I always saw her rummaging around to find something to use as a knitting marker that’s when I figured I could easily make one!

I picked up some earring clasps, I choose to use them because with crocheting the marker doesn’t move as your go along it stays put. So you have to have a way to remove the markers so a earring clasp made total sense.

While I was at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart picking up the earring clasps I grabbed some headpins, jump rings, small pliers and an assortment of beads.

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Starting with the headpin I slipped the chosen beads in the order I wanted them then made a loop, cutting the excess metal. Using the spring ring attach the beaded section with the earring clasp.

I ended up making quite a lot of markers some in sets of 4 some in sets of 3 just depending on the beads I had on hand.

Using birch bark from some logs in the woodpile I used a leather hole punch to create holes in the bark and wove a strand of yarn through, doubling it back and tying the end to the beginning strand in the back.

Attaching the markers to the front yarn loops to create a nice display/ tag when giving them as a gift.

Happy creating everyone!

Raspberry Shortcake with Coffee Whipped Cream

If you cant tell already I am in full blown spring mode, so I thought what better then to make and bring to a friends for coffee then some raspberry shortcakes! To kick it up a notch I decided to flavor the whipped cream with a hint of coffee!

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Raspberry Shortcake with Coffee Whipped Cream

A few days before making the shortcakes I poured a small carton of whipping cream in a container and added 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee to the cream, stirring until the two are well combined. Sealing the container I let it sit in the fridge for a few days to infuse the cream with the coffee flavour.

Ingredients

Shortcake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

Glaze

1/4 cup milk

granulated or raw sugar

Whipped Cream

2 cups whipping cream

2 heaping tbsp ground coffee

 

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4-1/2 cup icing sugar

Directions

    Preheat oven to 425°F

    In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut in butter finely. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream and milk; add to dry mixture, stirring with a fork to make a soft slightly sticky dough. Gather into a ball and on a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently about 8-10 times or until dough is smooth.

    Roll the dough out to about ¾ inch thickness and using a cookie cutter cut out rounds.

    Place on a lined cookie sheet and using a pastry brush lightly brush the tops of the shortcakes with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.

    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

    While the shortcakes are baking place the beaters you are going to use to make the whipped cream in the freezer. It makes it a lot faster to use chilled beaters and a chilled bowl if you have the room in the freezer!

    Once the shortcakes are out of the oven and cooling on a wire rack strain the whipping cream with some cheesecloth and get to work whipping the cream with your beaters until almost stiff peaks form.

    Then gradually add your vanilla extract and icing sugar (amount depends on the sweetness you want your whipped cream to have). Beat until combined well.

  • you can also add chopped up berries to the whipped cream combining before piping onto the shortcakes.
  • Assembly

    Cut shortcakes in half, spooning a generous amount of whipped cream on the bottom half and add berries. Place the top half of the shortcake back in place and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a berry.

 

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Black Beans

There is an amazing Mexican food restaurant in Whitehorse called Sanchez Cantina and it serves the best black beans you will ever taste! So for a few years people in the village that like the restaurant have been trying to make beans that are similar to its since the only thing they will tell you is that the beans are made with love.

Well I just happen to have a friend that is Guatemalan and her mom is a fantastic cook so I got her recipe for black beans and after about 6 tries I finally got very close to the Sanchez Cantina black beans and now I’m going to share it with all of you!

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Rodriguez Black Beans

A must have for your Mexican themed dinner!

A very freezer friendly meal!

Ingredients

1 Bag Black Beans

Mushroom Bullion Cubes

Herb Bullion Cubes

1 Head of Garlic, Finely Chopped

1-2 Onions, Finely Chopped

Directions

Place full bag of raw beans in a large pot and cover well with water. Add one mushroom and one herb bullion cube. Boil for one hour, you will have to keep adding water, every time you add water add one of either herb or mushroom bullion.

Stirring occasionally.

Add one head of finely chopped garlic and continue boiling for 2 hours more, adding water and bullion cubes when needed.

Once boiled for 3 hours turn off heat and leave on the stove top until the next step

In a large frying pan place a fair amount of oil and add diced onions to the pan. Caramelize onions do NOT caramelize them so much that they are a dark brown it will give the beans a bitter flavor. You want them transparent and just starting to turn a light brown.

Once onions are done add a portion of the beans and water to the frying pan and fry them with the onions. Will have to fry several times to get all the beans done, placing the finished beans in a different pot or bowl. Once all beans are fried stir well to get the onions evenly distributed though out the beans.

Enjoy with rice, bean salad, nachos and more!

Because this recipe takes about 4 hours to make and also makes a large amount I tend to freeze a large portion of the beans in different size freezer bags to use later. They freeze amazingly and then you have homemade black beans ready anytime you have a craving!