Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let it snow

I live on the Sunshine Coast located on the Southwest Coast of British Columbia. We don't often see the mercury dip to below 0 Celsius nor do we often see snow. But, when the snow does apprear it quickly turns to rain because we seldom stay cold enough once the snow clouds move in. This time, thanks to an Arctic flow, we are getting lots of snow and it's sticking around, in fact lower temperatures are forecasted for the rest of the week. The forecast also calls for sun on Friday and Saturday and that means brilliant clear days with the sun shimmering on the snow, can't wait, in the meantime, I'm enjoying the snow.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Riches to rags

What would you say your husband's dress style is? Well my husbands is country chic, t-shirts, jeans, and flannel shirts (for dress up days). But wait for it, the t-shirts are free, thanks in part to beer company give-aways and to my youngest son's basketball tournaments, from 10 years ago . He wears them to near death but I'm still able to get further use from them.

So thanks to Budweiser and high school basketball, I made some rags and tomato ties for next year's crop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tea Towels

A little while ago I purchased three cotton tea towels from my local fabric store. It's a very small store that carries quilting fabric, embroidery supplies and yarn. I'm really thrilled on how my designs turned out but I'm not sure how well the embroidered designs will hold up wash after wash so I'm going to iron self adhesive interfacing to the back. My hope is that the little threads on the back of the design will stick to the interfacing and not fray or come undone. If anyone out there has any pointers on this I would love to hear from you.
I have lots of design ideas but I'll have to find a good online supplier because $5.00CAD per tea towel is much to expensive if I plan to sell them. Again if anyone out there has any suggested online stores I can buy from please let me know. They must be located in Canada or the USA.


Pecan and Raisin Bars - second baking batch

I finished my second batch of Christmas baking. Pecan and Raisin bars, delicious! The recipe can be found on the Robin Hood Flour website. You will notice the recipe calls for dried cranberries which I didn't have on hand so I substituted raisins. These taste just like butter tarts but without the fuss of pastry.

Happy baking!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas baking - first batch

I have always baked for Christmas but more often than not I mess it all up, you see I'm not a very good baker. I swore to myself, as I do every Christmas, that I will stick with the tried and true, I make notes on my recipes, I file my recipes, I try to find my recipes and guess what..each Christmas my recipes are lost to me. So this year I'm starting with a clean slate. I have a binder that holds my recipes and they are stored in my computer as well. Fingers crossed this will work. I also decided that slow and easy is the way to go, no more "Saturday is baking day" and try to bake 12 doz different types of cookies. Yesterday I baked my first cookie, thumbprint cookies, filled with my homemade cherry jam. The recipe is on the Robin Hood flour website. These cookies are fabulous, Art polished off 1/2 dozen already but they are now safely hidden in the freezer.

Give Chrismas baking a try, it will soon become a family tradition.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas crafts

I've now completed two advent calenders. The first one was for my nephew Finley, 1 1/2 yrs and so very cute. The second is for my two grandsons Ethan 4yrs and John Daniel 4 months. They will be able to use it next Christmas, they are visiting family this Christmas.
These little calenders are really cute and not just for kids, you can fill them with special notes, adult liquor filled chocolates, promise notes, little gifts like tea candles, recipes, perfume sachets, dainty or not so dainty hankies, sky is the limit.

My next project is embroidering a tea towel which is a gift for my mother-in-law. It's hard to tell what this is but it's a sprig of olives.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Making wine

When Art and I moved we were lucky enough to buy a house with a cantina, for those of you who don't know what a cantina is, it's a wine cellar. So .. Art started making wine. He bought 2 buckets of wine juice when we first moved here in Feb. 08 for 65.00CAD per bucket and each bucket makes about 30 bottles of wine. Unfortunately the price of wine juice in our little town has not been that low again, what to do?? Seriously, what am I going to do? Art doesn't drink wine, basically our deal is he makes it, I drink it. I was complaining about my dilema with my dad who lives in Vancouver and guess what..there is an Italian store in Vancouver that offers wine juice, about 20 different types in white and red with prices ranging from 40.00 to 60.00 per bucket. When I lived in the lower mainland I used to shop there but didn't know they carried the wine juice.

OK, so I found the supplier but how to get it to my house, six hours, and two ferries away.

Well, this is where friends and family come in, whenever someone comes to visit they are requested to bring two buckets of wine, thanks Gail and Ralf and Niamh and Glenn. They have kept me in wine.
Everyone is welcome just bring wine juice.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend bliss

The weekend, finally. Slow morning with a big cup of coffee, a visit to the church bazzar, a walk around the hood with Seiko our "watch"dog, Art has a keen sense of humor.

But seriously, lots of work to do. Art and I rearranged our bedroom furniture. Rearrange. The word makes our room seem big enough to rearrange, it's not, I just like to torture Art with my crazy ideas.

Laundry is done, bathroom is clean and now to the fun part, baking. I have bread and cookies to make today with some crafts thrown in for good measure.

Oh and what about dinner today..hmm, frozen pizza I made last week, love the freezer.

Have a great weekend everybody.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Boys

My eldest son left today on his big adventure. I already miss him and he has not yet left Canada. I’m so proud of both my boys, my oldest for having the courage to live the life he wants to live and my youngest for being such a great dad to my two grandchildren, who I will see at Christmas this year.

Love you both.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Granola Bars

I made these chewy granola bars on Saturday. I'm always buying granola bars because it's such a quick and healthy snack and thought..why not try making my own.

I found this recipe in
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups of raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, seeds, dried fruit, whatever combination your imagination and taste buds come up with will work.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups assorted chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc.
3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.
I wrapped each bar in wax paper, then into a large zip lock bag and then into the freezer. Just grab and go, great little snack.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Crochet flowers

These are so cute.. Re-usable make up pads or face cleansers. I crocheted these sweet little flowers from organic cotton. It only takes about 10 minutes to make one, great while watching TV. I also made a little laundry bag, just place the used cotton pads in the bag and throw the whole thing in the washer.


Inspiration from:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baking bread

Is there anything more comforting than kneading warm bread dough? I love making bread, it makes me feel good. Baking bread tells me all is right in my world, my home, my family.
I'm in a funk today and I know that baking some bread will turn me from sad to glad in no time. Life begings to feel less complicated as I start to knead the dough, my mind clears and thoughts and ideas make their way forward.
Here is the recipe:

2 envelopes active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsps)
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups milk
4 tbsp butter
3 tsp salt
2 cup warm water
5 cups unbleached flour
5 cups whole wheat flour
Dissolve sugar and 1/2 cup warm water in large bowl, sprinkle yeast over sugar water, let stand for approx 10 min.
Heat milk to lukewarm, stir in butter, water and surgar. Add milk mixture to yeast mixture and 4 cups of whole wheat flour, beat mixture until smooth with a wooden spoon.
Stir in remaining flour one cup at a time until mixture leaves side of bowl. Turn dough out onto floured surface and start kneading dough adding more flour as required. Dough should be elastic and no longer sticky. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.
Place dough in slightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm draft free area until dough doubles in volume, approx 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough onto floured surface and cut dough into 4 equal amounts. Shape into 4 loaves. Place loaves into greased loaf pans and let rise until doubled, approx 1 hour.
Bake at 400 F on lower oven rack for 25 to 30 minutes, remove from pans. Brush crust with butter if desired.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Friends from the "old hood" surprised me this weekend by showing at our front door on Saturday. Oh how I missed them, and what a sight for sore eyes.

Art and I love our new city by the sea but we miss our dear friends and we look forward to their visits.

We spent a magical night on our float cabin with Eric, Iona and beautiful Hannah. Eric was the first visitor to catch (and release) 4 rainbow trout from our deck. We had a lovely BBQ and 9 year old Hannah made the Caesar salad and sauteed the mushrooms we ate with our steaks. A young chef in the making. And I beat everyone to smithereens playing several hands of "go fish".

Can't wait to see everyone again.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Crafts and a big mug of tea

My son and his family will be here for Christmas. This will be the first time I will see the newest addition to the Thistle clan. John Daniel Thistle was born just two months ago and together with his older brother Ethan, now 4 years old, our Christmas will be a joyous occasion.

I've decided to sew a countdown calender which has some embroidery, bead work and applique.

It's a gloomy, rainy and blustery day outside but with a big mug of tea, a craft project and some music on the radio I am indeed in my own little heaven.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Kitchen Curtains

Finally my curtains are done. It took some time to complete because I hand embroidered the edges to match the dinner plates my son gave me.

My mom taught me to embroider when I was six, hard to believe, but with no TV there was lots of time to learn. Over the years I embroidered many projects. I also sew, knit and crochet. I started to paint a little while ago but I'm not very good at it. I still work at it but it takes a long time to finish a project.

If you have never tried embroidery I urge you to give a try. It's really wonderful to create something that is exactly what you want. I found a great blog which outlines all the embroidery stitches you will ever need. //


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Making laundry soap and fabric softener

I am so excited. I made my own laundry soap and fabric softener, it was easy and costs pennies per load. I will be doing a happy dance as a walk past the laundry aisle at the supermarket. I now have to find a recipe for an all purpose cleaner to use around the house, if you have one please let me know.

Here is how to make liquid laundry detergent.

1bar soap shaved and melted in 4 cups hot not boiling water. I put 3 gallons hot water in a 5 gal. bucket, add soap mixture after soap has melted, stir. Then I add 1 cup washing soda, stir. Add 1/2 cup borax, stir again. Re-use a commercial detergent bottle and stir before each use.

This detergent does not have bubbles which are unneccesary and sometimes the liquid does not gel, don't worry about it, shake it and use it, it will still work.

Fabric softner

1 part vinegar
1 part baking soda
2 parts HOT water.

Mix water and soda, then add vinegar. Use a big bucket to mix it in, because when you add the vinegar, it will foam up. You just need 1/4 cup per load, make sure to shake well before using.

Add a ball of tin foil to your dryer to help avoid static in your clothes, or better yet, hang your clothes. I'm lucky to have a heated basement where I can hang my laundry.

Zesty tomato Salsa recipe

Well as you know I had a huge harvest of tomatoes, in fact I still have some. With such an abbundance of tomatoes I decided to make salsa. Here is the recipe.

This makes 12 250 ml (8 oz) jars or 6 500 ml(pint) jars.

10 cups chopped cored peeled tomatoes, I used roma tomatoes

5 cups chopped seeded green bell peppers
5 cups chopped onions
2 1/2 cups chooped seeded chili peppers. I used jalapeno
1 1/4 cups cider vinigar. I used regular vinigar
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp hot peeper sauce, optional

Prepare canner, jars and lids. For more information please see:
1. large stainless steel pot, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Reduce hear and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
2.Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary add more hot salsa. Wipe rim, center lid on jar and screw band down to fingertip-tight.
3.Place jars in canner, ensuring they are compeltely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process both 8 ounce and pint jars for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and sotre.

I only used three jalopeno peppers, I was worried it would be too hot but next I'll use the whole amount as specified in the recipe. The colour of this salsa is not the same deep red as purchased salsa but I suspect the store salsa has food colour which the homemade salsa does not have.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Float Cabin

This summer my husband and I purchased a float cabin on Powell Lake, B. C. Our summer holiday was spent swimming and boating. I plan to buy a canoe or kayak for next summer to explore the lake coastline. Since our summer holiday we spend about two weekends per month just hanging out and relaxing. Next summer we hope to have lots of family and friends at the cabin.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New to blogging

I live in the beautiful city of Powell River, BC. I moved here just a few months ago from Britannia Beach, another beautiful area of BC. I chose my new home because it has a large flat yard, almost an acre, in a semi-rural area.

I love to garden and had a very successful and bountiful veggie garden. I grew tomatoes, zucchini, buttercup squash, pumpkins, carrots, beets, lettuce, chili peppers and cucumbers. I started all of these from seeds. I purchased eggplant and green pepper plants.

I also have three plum, two pear, two apple, one cherry and two hazelnut trees. The plums and cherries were wonderful and I made jams, chutney, relish and froze much of the fruit and veggies in large ziplock bags.

I have many hobbies in addition to gardening. I love to paint, sew, read and ...

This is one of my painting projects.

That's all for now, next time I will tell you about our float cabin.