Friday, December 23, 2011

Brownies in a Jar

Are you unorganized and last minute gifter like I am? Usually we are a little bit more ahead then this, but not this year. Being crippled this year has made things a little bit harder then usual, and now that DH is home from Halifax (military stuff) things have been a little easier to get done! If you have jars kicking around like we do from spaghetti sauce or canning, you can use them for projects! We use mason jars from sauces as glasses. Having two boys in and out and bouncing about, our dishes take a beating!


This project is easy to make, looks lovely when it's done, and tastes so good. If of course you love chocolate.. The lids took the longest, you can decorate however you like. I used some canvas glued on, and then wrapped wired ribbon after the glue had dried and fabric trimmed. We don't have a printer yet, which we are going to look at today for labels and instructions. I hand wrote them out on some cut out heavy paper from a duotang holder. I'm sure there is nice paper around here somewhere, but once again, no idea with kids around! They have many projects !! Attached to the label I had some "Made for you" charms which I tied on with twine (I make jewelry and other things so have charms from that.)

Ingredients you will need to make the layers. You can also write this on the card that will attach to the jar:

1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (can substitute any nuts you like, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts etc)
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chunks, or even white chocolate if you like

They will need 3 eggs lightly beaten and 1 cup of soft butter.

1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Line or lightly grease and flour a 7x11 baking tin. (Can use a 9x9 also)
2. Empty out jar contents into a bowl and mix together thoroughly
3. Mix in 3 lightly beaten eggs and 1cup softened butter
4. Spread onto baking tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.


Layer the ingredients in the jars. Remember if they are going to bounce around a lot, the thin ingredients may slip through the bigger ones and sink. I put all the brown sugar on the top but it would have looked nice to separate the flour and the brown sugar and make two more layers. I'm too impatient though when there are too many jobs going on. Lots of Christmas baking today!

You can make your labels however you like. On a printer, or handwritten are both nice. We like giving handmade gifts instead of store bought items. It just feels like more this way.

Hope you get some free time to get to some crafts! Merry Christmas everyone!

Guacamole

What goes better with Chipolte or any kind natchos then Guacamole? Homemade guacamole!!

Ingredients
2-3 ripe avocados
garlic (or garlic powder)
red pepper
jalepeno or other spicy pepper
salsa
lemon juice

Mash up avocado in a bowl until smooth, add diced garlic, diced peppers, 2-3 tablespoons of salsa (to taste) and lemon juice (stops it from turning brown) Let sit, covered in fridge for 2-3 hours so the flavours set. Can make up to a day ahead of time. Everything is to taste in this recipe. If you like spicy, then add more spicy peppers or spicy salsa. The red pepper is for colour and a little bit of zip, and the garlic is really what sets it to perfection.

You can use this as a dip for crackers, natchos, celery sticks or anything crunchy really, or add to sandwiches and bagels. Use your imagination :) It could also be added to sauces for pasta!

Chipolte Chicken


Chicken Chipolte for natchos (this is what the colour actually came out as. Spicy and delicious! The chipolte is a smoky pepper with enough spice to get your eyes to water but not too much to make you cry about it ;)
We put it on heavy corn taco chips as this was the first time we made it at home and weren't sure how it would turn out. There were a few minor adjustments we could do, but overall think it turned out really good. I can see how in restaurants it would be a little different (dh said it's usually pinker and runnier) I liked it like this though!

Ingredients:
2-3 cups Chicken (you can use chicken breasts. We used roasted because it was already cooked, and you get about 2-3 cups of chicken off one roaster)
1/2 cup chopped onion (we used green onion)
1 tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1-2 cans chipolte peppers (we found them finally! In the Mexican aisle top shelf. we used one can, just the two of us)
2 tbls tomato paste (don't see why you couldn't use spaghetti sauce if that's what you have on hand)
1 tbls white wine vinegar (we only had red, worked fine! could use rice vinegar in place as well)
tortilla chips
shredded cheese (jack, cheddar, mozza, whatever you like on yours! we shred our own. much cheaper!)

In a large skillet over medium high heat cook the onion with the olive oil until browned, around 5 minutes. Add in cumin and oregano, stirring until the spices become fragrant (smelly:) takes about 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the chilies (we had to slice ours up into little pieces, they came can whole) tomato paste, vinegar, and half cup water. (we forgot the water last night, but they turned out fine! Could see how the water would definitely thin it out, but we were worried it would be too runny) blend all the sauce together on a low boil, stirring often. Add chicken and stir until it is coated, hot and seasoned with sauce.
Arrange your tortilla chips on a baking pan (cookie sheets work great. Use parchment paper if you don't want any mess on it!) This is where you decide what you like best! You can either put cheese on your chips first and then the chicken or chicken and then cheese. We go with ingredients first, then top with cheese so it all bakes up and locks all the goodness onto the chips. If you want extra ingredients on your chips ie olives, tomatoes, peppers, this would be the time to add them. Bake at 400 until the cheese is melted and bubbles.

This meal or snack costs under 20$. It is great for parties, or like us, just wanted to try something different and awesome. It is pretty spicy but it wasn't a burn that lasted long like some peppers do. I hear all about "chipolte" in the USA and after having this, I'm a huge fan. They will be peppers that we use more often for sure. Maybe even look into growing some this spring if we can find the seeds!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Organic Salad with Raspberry dressing

Organic Hearty Salad with avocado, feta, and raspberry dressing

You can do just about anything you want for a salad. This one was huge, and so good! We stick to oil and vinegar dressings made with olive oil to keep the bad fats down, they are so good! There are so many different flavours to choose from. Can't wait until spring so we can start making our own dressings again!

Salad:
Organic baby greens
avocado sliced
diced carrots
sliced cucumber
Tomato chopped or diced
feta or cheddar
cranberry
sunflower seeds
olives
bacon bits (real bacon. We usually cook the bacon up in the morning and hope it makes it through the day. The kids like to munch on it before we get a chance to use it a lot of the time ;)

Add all the ingredients together and toss. Add your dressing and mm mm good!
You can add chicken, ham or beef, any kinds of cheese you like. Havarti is one of our favorites.
We add avocado, cheese and seeds for energy, and you can get the protein from the chicken.
You can also add egg if you have some hard boiled, it makes that "boring' salad yummy!

Salad doesn't have to be boring! Spice it up, live a little, or live a lot! The ideas are endless!
Happy Crunching
-Diana

Hearty Chicken stock (we use for brown rice)

We eat a lot of stir fry these days. They are healthy, filling, and delicious! I've made several batches of chicken stock and have it frozen and use that instead of plain water when making the rice. Brown rice is kind of boring, and needs a little boost! It has lessened our need for other fattening flavours like butter!! I use a simple recipe for the stock but it always turns out fabulous. It is a good way to do something with the chicken bones from roasted chickens!

One batch of chicken bones (we use roasted chicken that has been picked) you can use any chicken bones you have though.
8 cups of water
6 stalks of celery chopped into large bite sizes
4 large carrots
1 onion chopped into chunks
optional veggies any time, we use peppers sometimes, or zucchini, mushrooms, whatever you feel like!
Pepper
salt optional (we don't add any extra salt to anything, but the hubby has to add it to french fries! Sea salt is much better)
Organic salt free seasoning (we get a lovely kind from costco, it's good on just about everything!)

I freeze the stock in 1 and 2 cup servings in the freezer, you can wait until it's cooled down and put them into ziploc freezer bags if that works for you. They can be frozen flat which makes for easy storage, or any other container you like to use! If I am going to use it for dinner, I will put it in the fridge the night before, or in the morning.

Meatballs

This is a recipe we used in our once a month cooking. They are delicious! No complaints from the kids at all! ;) 
Meatballs
1lb extra lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/3 cup all bran
1/3 cup wild rice
3 tbls mustard (secret ingredient to yummy burgers!)
Worcestershire sauce, about a tsp
pepper
spices to taste (I used the organic no salt flavour from Costco)

Roll meat into balls about 2 inches. Brown balls on medium heat until brown all around. Bake in oven at 350 for about an hour, or until cooked all the way through. I like it with tomato soup flavour so I had a can of that with water, and simmer in the oven. Serve with extra rice and any side veggies you like mmm mmm

Coconut Macaroons


Coconut Macaroons

Mmmm Chocolate and coconut all together as one - yum yum!

Melt chocolate..1 large bag of chocolate chips, I add 2 or 3 squares of bakers chocolate.
add
2 Tablespoons of butter
3 - 4 Tablespoons cream, more as needed
2 tablesppons of sugar more if your chocolate is bitter

In frying pan on high heat toast about 1 bag coconut, shredded or long, add to melted chocolate and stir. Should be thick.

Spoon onto sheet pans lined saran or wax paper, refrigerate 2 - 3 hours...and walla!


Enjoy!
Kristi 

--------------

This recipe is an easy one to make, does not take much time and is inexpensive to do. Depending on your grocer and area, this recipe should be under 10$

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peanut Butter cups (SO GOOD!)

These are easy to make and taste so so so good! Almost like Reese's peanut butter cups. I used mini cupcake papers, but you can make them bigger, use muffin tins, add to a cake pan and then cut up into pieces, or use the candy liners.

What you need
8 oz or 1 cup of chocolate, or chocolate chips
12 oz or 1 1/2 cups of Peanut butter

In saucepan melt half of the peanut butter and half of the chocolate together (3/4 cup or 6 oz peanut butter, and half cup chocolate or 4 oz) until it is melted and blended together, stirring often.
Carefully pour or scoop into your muffin papers, about 1/3 full. Let set (in the fridge is fairly quick, I waited over night and it was set quite hard)
Melt remaining peanut butter in saucepan, stirring constantly. Pour into tins. Let set.
Melt remaining chocolate in saucepan, stirring constantly. Pour into tins. Let set
This amount made 48 mini cupcake papers. It would probably make about 24 larger ones, or one 8x8 cake pan size.

That's all there is too it! These were one of the fastest treats I have ever made. It can be a tedious job though, so having small children helping might not be a good idea. It can be quite hot, so be careful not to get burned or burn your ingredients. You can use the water bath method to melt, you boil water in a larger pot, and then place your ingredients into a smaller pot and set that into the hot bath. You won't burn your ingredients this way as the water only gets to a certain temperature and there isn't the direct heat on your chocolate!

You can make these for dinner parties, or gifts. They taste really great! I will make these over again for sure!
Difficulty:
Easy
Cost:
Peanut butter - 5$
Chocolate chips - 3$
Paper cups - 1.25 for 200
Total: $9.25

The new blog spot

Hello all! I hope everyone is having happy holidays so far! Dear Husband gets home in less then 48 hours so we are busy around here getting the house in order! It's very exciting as he has been gone for 2 months! Hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas to all!




The new Blog site is quite different then the previous format so if you are looking through, the easiest view, I think, is the Sidebar. You can view the photo of the post and then choose that blog post.

I will have a new section on here called Kristi's Corner, she has some wonderful recipes and a few craft ideas that are great! She makes really good food too ;)

I have just started up an Etsy account, so will post the link to that soon. Some of the items I make will be available for purchase in the New Year. It's been so hectic around here that I haven't had much time to do much posting but now that DH is home I should have a lot more!

Cheers and Happy Holidays!
From staff at Fancy That

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home

Hello! Just a quick note to say I will be posting more stuff soon! It's been very busy around here as DH is in the Navy so hasn't been home but we are looking forward to his quick return in the next couple of weeks! It seems that we get more stuff accomplished when he is home, I'm guessing because there is more time for other things when there are two doing the household stuff! I had a small issue (technical ha ha, accidentally wiped out all of my photos which was a pain! The blog stuff, and another photography blog. Such a shame!) Anyway, will be back to work on things and be a posting maniac for a bit ;) There are some cute winter ideas, and some ones to get ready for spring, mostly gardening for now, but also have a few jewelry ideas! Hope everyone is having a fabulous autumn and have a happy holiday season! Cheers!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Now that fall is here it gets darker earlier, and the kids seem to be getting hungry earlier. School is back in, routines are starting to settle, sports are taking up a huge part of our afternoons but Sunday is our family day. Today we decided to do homemade pizzas and OH MY GOSH. Great idea!! DH told me about this program I can put on my phone filled with recipes so I did that and found quite a simple recipe, but we played it up. To make the dough was quite simple and we had enough to make two pizzas, one for the kids, and one for us. The kids are notorious for having the same thing over and over, so we sneak in this and that to see what they say, and most of the time they have no idea that we have snuck in some veggie goodness. We didn't add much to theirs today, but you can get away with quite a bit if you have a grater and a little bit of patience. We try to stick to thin crusts as much as possible, but we do end up loading veggies to our pizzas. And I mean lots! Today was exempt from what I usually do, broccoli, salad mix, carrots even! Anything you can think of. Kids like pizza. You can put a lot of things on pizza. Then kids will eat their veggies!! Mine still pick off onions for some reason, but they will eat just about anything else on a pizza! 
The kids are simple at their age, so of course, so is their pizza. They are pepperoni and feta fans, so of course that is what we made. Their extra veg sneak was some extra tomatoes in their sauce, and fresh herbs from the garden infused into the dough.

First I will give the recipe for the dough and instructions. It is easy to make, quick, and the kids can get involved. 4 easy ingredients, and an hour and a half of your time, and voila! A happy bunch of full men in a house makes for a fantastic, quiet evening. This is our first attempt and it turned out better then we could have imagined. 

Ingredients:

1 cup of warm water 
1 envelope of actie dry yeast (I used 2 teaspoons out of a jar of yeast)
3 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Herbs of choice (We used fresh out of our garden, basil, spicy oregano, organic no salt spices)

Directions:

Sprinkle the yeast into the water and gently stir until dissolved. It should be smooth and a beige coloured mixture. (This picture was for a different recipe but the mixture of yeast should look like what is in the measuring cup. It will be kind of "frothy" and bubble up above the water) 

If it does not get frothy then it is probably a "dead' batch. You will have to make sure it bubbles up or it won't work to rise in your dough. Once it is mixed put it in a warm spot for about 5 minutes so it can do it's thing. Don't use boiling water as it will kill the yeast, I usually just use warm tap water, just before it would be hot. 

After you have started your yeast mixture put 3 cups of the flour and all the salt in a big mixing bowl and mix it together. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in your yeast mixture. Stir it from the middle with a wooden spoon mixing in the flour from the sides until it becomes a soft dough. You can use your hands if it is too hard to do with the spoon.

Once you have a dough take the ball and place it onto a floured surface. Dust up your hands with the flour and knead away. Gradually add the rest of the flour until your ball is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Knead your dough picking up any little pieces that are there and adding them into the ball until it is smooth, and elastic. Only knead your ball until it is springy. This is where we made it more fun! We added in fresh basil, spicy oregano and that magic no salt organic herb mix from Costco. All together it was about 1/4 cup of herbs. You can get as creative as you want, so experiment!! 

Shape the dough into a nice bowl and put into a clean warm bowl covered tightly somewhere where there are no drafts. Let sit for about 1to 1-1/2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Once it has doubled "punch" it down to remove all the air bubbles. Shape into a ball once more time and let sit for 10 minutes to rest. Once rested roll out the pizza dough and cover with your favorite toppings! You can bake on a pizza pan, or cookie sheet. We inherited a pizza stone so gave that a try, and honestly, I will only use that from now on. The crust turned out fantastic. This dough will make 2 pizzas, which was enough for our 4 family members, with some left over for lunches tomorrow. We baked at 375 for about 25 minutes. 

Use the dough up within 2 hours, or wrap tightly and freeze up to 4 months.

This photo is the before of the chicken pizza. We used red pepper Alfredo sauce, spinach, artichoke hearts, chicken breast cooked earlier, feta, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and jalapeno havarti. To put an extra jump we stuffed the crust with Havarti. It was sooo good. 
 
All chicken goodness came out of this! 



As you saw up at the top, the first photo was the pepperoni before we put it in the oven. This is the finished pizza. We used tomato sauce, I find that they like spaghetti sauce more then actual pizza sauce. It has more flavour to it, and they don't complain. Often we let them choose the flavours and then there is no fight :) It was simply sliced pepperoni and feta with cheddar on top and cheddar stuff into their crust. 

The stuffed crusts probably aren't the healthiest, but sometimes you just need that comfort food to warm you up on a cold day. We already have the fire going so this was just another welcoming of my favorite part of the year! There is so much yummy goodness this time of year, recipes will be flying. 

If you're feeling really energetic you could cut this dough up into small sections and make mini pizzas that can be frozen for easy access later on. This would probably make 10-12 mini pizzas for us. We are definitely going to give that a try next time! 

The difficulty of this recipe is easy. Fun for the kids, so get them involved! Just make sure they wash their hands ;) 

Time 1.5 hours from start to finish, but most of it is waiting for the dough to rise. 

Tools:
Wooden spoon
Measuring cups
Bowl
Pizza pan or cookie sheet


Friday, August 26, 2011

Yeast free cinnamon buns. Need I say more?


This last year has been quite a year with back injury etc and someone asked how I could be a size 6 now and eat what I eat. I think my baby sister said it the best.. "The trick to being a size 6 is doing everything that is good for the soul. And nothing that is bad for the soul" Now, don't get me wrong, I still have my sins, like a whole bag of wine gums every now and then.. not the little one. I'm talking the big Costco size bag. That has become fewer and far between, but you get the picture. 


One thing we avoid at all costs is margarine. We've stopped using it completely, and I cringe at having to use it. It isn't whole, it is full of weird things, and if my body has to work that hard at processing it, then we don't need it!We won't absorb any of the good, because our bodies are working so hard to get out the bad. Butter, butter, butter!! You don't have to use as much, and when you do use it, it's like a treat. Now, that is something pure and good, and my soul appreciates it, to the fullest.  


I had a baking day the other day, and went crazy, banana cookies (delicious), banana coconut bread, and these little morsels. This was my first time making cinnamon buns that didn't pop out of a can, and they were actually so simple to do, and took under an hour from start to finish! 


All you need:


DOUGH
2 cups flour
2 Tbl sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbl butter
3/4 cup milk (we used 1% with this, because we did plan on eating them all. Which we did ha ha!!)


FILLING
4 Tbl butter
1 cup brown sugar (you can use more or less)
3 tsp cinnamon
Nuts, raisins, etc to taste


GLAZE
1/2 powdered sugar/icing sugar
1/4 cup milk


What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 425F (250C)

2. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl
3. Cut in butter until the mixture looks like oatmeal or small peas
4. Add milk gradually, stirring with a fork. Dough should come away from sides of bowl
5. Knead 3-4 times and then roll into a rectangle 1 cm thick on the counter, lightly floured 


FILLING
6. Smear butter over dough, coating it. I melted the butter down so it would spread easier.
7. Sprinkle your cinnamon on top, to taste
8. Sprinkle brown sugar on top
9. Sprinkle your nuts, raisins, extra filling on top that you choose
10. Roll the dough up from one long side to the other
11. Slice into 1-1.5 inch slices and place cut side down in a greased muffin tin or cookie sheet
12 Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown


13. Drizzle topping on after they have come out of the oven. Enjoy!


These were really good, the kids and hubby ate them all while they were still warm! Make sure the kids get their hands in this job too, it's a lot of fun, simple to make, and easy to clean up. 






  • Thursday, August 11, 2011

    When you're hungry and you know it... French Toast


    Sometimes the kids can be a little picky. okay,.. actually A LOT of times the kids can be picky. You know those days, and there isn't much in the fridge? This one is easy and doesn't take up a lot of time, and of course, the kids will eat it!

    French toast is one of those things that you forget about but when you remember that you have the ingredients, it makes morning a lot more fun, and everyone thinks you've slaved your heart out over this meal! The end result is the best result. Usually with full belly's, smiles, and maybe even a hug from the one who doesn't do that anymore due to age ;) 

    All you need:
    Bread either fresh or frozen (we don't eat a lot of bread but we always have some in the freezer. We go with a whole grain/12 grain, or something high in fiber)
    Eggs
    Cinnamon
    Optional:
    Sugar or Syrup 
    Fruit (fresh or frozen)
    Whip cream or frozen yogurt (In this recipe I used frozen french vanilla yogurt, with frozen berries and mango that I warmed up on the stove while I was preparing the other stuff)

    Directions: So simple!!!
    Put a non stick pan onto medium low to warm up. You can butter or oil your pan lightly if your eggs stick to the pan.
    Crack eggs into a bowl, and whip/scramble. Add cinnamon while whipping with a fork.
    Place bread in egg mix and coat both sides of the bread. Place your coated bread into the pan and cook until the egg mixture has cooked thoroughly on either side. You can put the french toast in the oven on low if you are cooking a whole bunch of pieces for a large group! 
    Once you have finished with the toast, place on your plates, add your whip cream or frozen yogurt, and top with berries or syrup! You can also sprinkle powdered sugar on top. It looks beautiful with blueberry/raspberry mix. 
    I usually cook for 3-4 people so it takes about 15 minutes for everything to be finished. Usually by the time I've cleared stuff off the counters the kids have finished their meals, and that is when you can snag your hugs!!! 

    This recipe is an easy one, and you can get the kids to help. They love to help in the kitchen, and this way they learn, and maybe one day you will get a surprise breakfast made for you ;) Happy eating, and enjoy! 

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Kitty Loves Pillows!

    We recently got a kitten and he is full of energy and loves to get into stuff, but when he is sleepy he quite enjoys being up high, on our pillows in bed, or on top of the couch. I figured why not make him a pillow for himself! 
    I purchased the fabric at a second hand store for $1.00 and it was just over a meter of blue with darker blue pinstripes. Perfect for a little boy! 

    I cut the fabric about two feet by two and a half feet. After cutting it folded it in half so the total pillow is about 2.5 feet by 1 foot so it can lay comfortably across the back of the couch. I folded the nice side in and did a quick stitch almost all the way around but enough to put my hand through and pull out the inside once sewed up so that it could be filled with stuffing. The pillow didn't need a lot, just about 2-3 inches tall. I am in the process of other pillows so have quite a bit of stuffing bags here and there. You can always take apart an ugly couch pillow that just is cutting it for you and use whats in there. Then once stuffed I did a quick stitch to sew the hole up and voila! This project only took about one hour from start to finish. If you had a sewing machine it could possibly only take about 10 minutes. It was quite easy and could be a fun project to cure some boredom during a rainy day. We don't know how big our little "Jupiter" is going to be so I made the pillow quite long. It will hopefully be great for him, and a lot easier for us to deal with a pillow instead of fluffy hair stuck in the couch come shedding season! Hope you all get some kitty love! Nothing beats a purring kitty on your lap.. :)

    Cost including stuffing - 3$
    Difficulty - Easy 
    Needed - Fabric, Sewing needle, thread, stuffing, scissors

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Out with the old, in with..... the old?

    Ever wonder what to do with that old painting, or dull old mirror that just doesn't look "good" anymore? One of my favorite things to do is to make the old look new again. I have a couple of little finds that have been spiffy'd up that will now be used as new pieces in the new house! I was given some old paintings and frames from a family member that just seemed blah, and had no life left in them, very "80's" even possibly. Yes, I know the 80's are making a come back, and YES I *love* some of the 80's things.. (like bangles, and some odds and ends.. but not the acid wash, that can stay back there ;) and there are definitely some lovely art pieces that are from back then, but this one just wasn't doing it for me!


     I forgot to take a photo of it in it's completely original state, but you get the picture. The frame was wood, with gold and then a canvas middle, that is a very common theme for canvas. I did see a lot of that working in a framing department for a little while, but just wasn't for me. So an easy fix up, probably one of the easiest for me! I ended up popping out the canvas and painting the frame black. Black is contemporary, and usually goes with everything! I painted the canvas over so it was white, and then just played with some colours! That style usually isn't what I do.. more of a tole paint kind of gal, but you can do whatever you want! A lot of times at the second hand stores, these types of paintings are dirt cheap (usually under 5$) so you are really saving a bundle! It is completely up to you what you want to do, and how to use your imagination! Anyway, this is what I came up with, and my husband seems to love it! So, to the living room it will go :)


    For my second find, which is completely amazing that *anyone* would be throwing this away, is the new mirror.


     We have been looking for a large mirror for quite some time, and yes they are easy to come by, but all the ones that I came across in the last few months were either unframed, or had some sort of "fake" wood around them, or that weird plastic stuff with the punched in designs. Luckily enough I came across this wonderful find, the only thing that I didn't like was that it was brown. For 10$, I gave myself a huge pat on the back! This will also be going in the living room to help make it "look" bigger. (isn't that silly? Haven't even moved, and I've already got the whole house furnished.. dh thinks I've gone loony for sure ha ha ha!! we move in less then a month now, so I should probably not be getting any more furnishings until we have finished, but with this I just couldn't help it!) The whole project cost me hardly anything.. you can purchase black acrylic paint at any craft store, or even the dollar store. I do prefer the americana as it doesn't seem to peel off, and luckily the paint that was already on the mirror was acrylic so it will stay on just fine. It hardly used any paint so you will be lucky enough to have some extra kicking around for another project on a rainy day!


    Total cost of both projects = 9.99
    Tools - Paintbrush, glue (to glue canvas back into the frame, you can use finishing nails if that is easier for you)
    Black paint ($1, at the dollar store, or about $3 at the craft store)
    Difficulty- Easy (this is also something you can get children to help with if you wanted, the paint is safe for kids, so it can become a family affair. Be warned, messes WILL occur, but that is the fun part ;)


    Cheers, and happy spiffy'ing up that new old item!

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Once upon a time, you were a boring old basket!

    When I see things, I don't look at them usually for what they are.. my dear hubby thinks I've gone whacky because *everything* I look at that has some sort of well in it, I see a plant of some sort that should be in it. I can't help it! It's just this thing that happens to me! So, here I will post a couple of items that I have in the garden! It may be crazy of me, but I think that's okay. The strawberries in boots, or the pansies in an old tool box suit me just fine! Gardening is for the imagination, and whatever you see fit usually does the trick! Please take a look, and I hope that you find an idea for yourself. It really is amazing what these little green things will do for us, and all the ask for is a bit of sunshine, a bit of water, and somewhere to lay their "heads", and then we are gifted what they do best! Berries, flowers, fruits and vegetables. How wonderful!! :)

    These are the pansies in their wooden toolbox. Because it is shallow it needs to be watered a little more often then the other plants, but totally worth it for the look it has

    We started these bunching onions at the beginning of the season, and because we didn't have any starter pots left, I zipped the top of a cranberry juice jug off! It works great!

    Next one, we had an old pair of boots kicking around, they were too worn to wear, but not too worn for some strawberry plants ;)

    For some reason everyone always has a basket or two kicking around and have no idea what to do with them.. they are either too big, or too small for anything useful, and end up sitting in a closet or corner collecting dust. I've found them to be the perfect thing for herbs. They are bio degradable, so after a few seasons they will most likely be unable to pick up, but you can always put little feet on them so they last longer. When doing the baskets I will put a liner inside of some sort, plastic wrap that I will re use, or that weed netting, just so the dirt doesn't wash out. Then poke a hole somewhere on the bottom so the extra water drains out. Plant any plants you wish! Here I've got some catnip and parsley in these baskets.

    The next few pictures are just a couple more ideas. There is an ice cream bucket with a red maple, wash bin full of lilies, a tin bucket with some sort of grass or lily I found in the compost pile, which I will find out what it truly is next spring, and a banana wire basket lined with foil paper from the outside of a pot filled with black clover (full of four leaf lucky clovers YAHOO!!,) and another pink flower that spreads on the ground. If you use your imagination you can grow anything just about anywhere!! Happy gardening!!



    Friday, May 27, 2011

    I love birds!!

    Do you ever sit in your garden, and wonder where the birds get their water from?? I do often, living by the ocean there is lots of water around, but is it "good" water?? Not for the little guys! I always seem to have an abundance of pots laying around too, if you are a gardener then most likely you do too. So, I decided to use them up somehow and make something useful at the same time! This project is not only awesome, it's easy and fun to make! I made the birds their own bath, and was afraid they wouldn't use it, but by looking in the bowl, I notice, it most definitely has been used!


    What you will need for this, is two pots the same size, I used clay 5 inch pots, and a clay pot bottom, mine is the bigger size. You can play around with them but the top (bottom) should big large enough for the birds to have enough water to play in! You will need glue, and paint of your choice, and some sort of spray to seal the bath up so your paint doesn't come off. If you don't have those things you can always leave it plain! Here is what you do!

    Pick two pots of your choice, and a tray that will go on top.


    This is probably the hardest part, deciding what size of bird bath you would like ;) Next you will take the two pots and glue them together. Open side down and open side up. I used regular while "craft/wood" glue.


    I used the 5 inch because thought that was a good size for my garden. Living in military housing there isn't much space for stuff, but this was the perfect size to fit in between the flowers and herbs that I have. Next you will choose a lid. The lid I have in the next photo isn't the one that I actually used. I decided to go bigger so ended up going out to purchase a new tray. But you get the idea!


    You glue the lid on, and let all the glues dry, best over night if you are using the white glue. If you are in a rush you could always use another type, like bond, or crazy glue. It would be fine, since the birds aren't drinking near that part.

    Once your glue is all dried you can paint your new bird feeder. I've done a couple of these, and noticed they don't like red around where I am! They seem to like the darker or pastel colours more. I used acrylic paint, and then used a spray that was animal friendly once dried. Best thing to do it ask at your local home store. They will be able to help you!

    Once your bird bath is dry, you can place in your garden, fill with water, and wait for the birds! I've now had to start changing the water in mine twice a day. I am glad they are enjoying it!! Since it is Spring, they will need a lot more water, with all their babies around and such. (I noticed we had babies living in the pole that is used for our laundry line outside!!) What a wonderful thing to watch in the morning with your tea, but some singing little birdies, having a party by the sea!

    Cost of pots (new): 8$
    Glue: 2$
    Spray: 6$
    Total cost: $16 (I already had the spray, so that didn't cost me this time. You can use it on other projects also!! :)
    If you have pots laying around you can use those to lessen the cost also.

    Difficulty: Easy
    Time: 20 minutes (more or less depending on you painting times) I took about an hour, the small flowers took a little white to do!

    Hope you enjoy your new garden bird bath! It really is worth the time to make!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Garden planter box

    Have you ever just seen a pile of wood, and thought "Hey, what can I get out of that?" I do it often! This time I put those thoughts into action! This is what I came up with: 




    Total cost: about $10
    Total time: 8 hours (because I started out not know what I was going to build exactly;)
    Difficulty: Medium
    Tools required: drill, jig saw, tape measure, pencil 2 inch screws, 1 1/4 inch screws, poly for liner, paint and brush, wood of choice, hammer, stapler and staples for wood


    So, first of all, the pile of wood is an old burn pile in the back yard that has come from house building scraps. A family friend brings them over to the house and it is usually used for the fire pit, but thought I would do something else with it this time. There were a lot of boards that were about the 2 feet length that had been cut from different projects for the house building. The first thing I did was build a basic frame. I had originally built a salad box and that is what I was starting to build when the idea came to me that I could expand this project! 




    Luckily for me the pieces were all generally the same size, so it was pretty easy to put this together. I used 1 1/4 inch screws to pop this together. 
    Next I built the salad box. I have one of these in my garden specifically for lettuce mixes. It is 3 inches tall, so perfect for baby salad greens! 




    Once I had the box together, I had to figure out how to do the sides. It all started to come together by this point, and decided that I really loved the look of vertical sides and horizontal bottom and top. 




    I didn't plan it very well,, so it was a little bit tough getting it together at first, simply because I jumped ahead of myself. Should have put the walls together first and then connected them. What ever you are comfortable with will work though! I used a chair for the top pieces to lean on as I was screwing those pieces in. For this section I also used 1 1/4 inch screws. 




    As I looked at the box, this is what I thought would be the bottom and then figure out something with the top. It didn't actually end up like that. This is when I decided to use the salad box as the bottom, and ended up flipping the box. Because the pieces are all the same length it slid in quite easily. I did have to find some pieces for support on the inside of the box, and they had to be screwed to the sides so it would sturdy up. 




    It has been fit, and snug on the bottom. Now for the top. This is where I had to use the jig saw. I had to measure 45 degree angles on the boards on top so the pieces would fit together and it would have a sharp looking top. I stapled the edges together, and used that metal stuff for securing furniture to the wall (in case of earth quake) I stapled the wire on and hammered it in so it was secure. The top side I just used staples for some extra strength. I wasn't very concerned with using screws on top as it was going to be painted so screwed the top on, two on each corner where the pieces connected for some more extra support. This is where I used the 2 inch screws so they were long enough to get some good grip into the frame boards. 



    Now that it was pretty much put together, I cut poly to fit inside so the wood won't rot away too quickly. You could put a pot inside as well if that is easier for you. This wood was used for concrete so I had to scrape a little bit off before painting, but all in all it didn't take very long, and was a pretty easy, fun project! I bought paint for this project, but am also using it on another one, so total cost for the paint was 14.00, but this box used about 1/4 of it. The screws were about 3.00, and the other miscellaneous parts were already kicking around the house like staples and poly.   


    Have fun, stay safe and please use safety gear when ever it is needed! 

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Need Lattice?!

    Being a poor chick, I often think and think of ways I can save money. What can I use, re-use, recycle!? We were in need of lattice for our peas! After going for a lovely walk on the beach, dear husband and I realized HEY! Driftwood!!! We walked along the beach, and found the perfect pieces for us, for the size we needed. We have a pea garden which is approximately 1.5'x3' long. I dug out a patch close to the house to block from the wind, as we are close to the ocean so it can get severely windy at our place, even when it isn't windy anywhere else in the city!! After thinking about how and what to do, we came up with this








    I had thought of putting up the black netting against the stairs, but after sitting outside for tea in the mornings, as spring began to "sprung" I noticed the amount of birds that flew under the stairs constantly! That would be the worst thing to wake up to, if one of them had gotten stuck! 


    This was an easy project, and took about one hour to complete, aside from our walk on the beach. 
    Materials: Driftwood, and screws. 
    Tools: a marker for marking dots, a drill, and a screwdriver. 

    Fun project for the kids to help with! 



    Please check your local area as there may be specific rules for taking/not taking items off the beach. 

    And then it was empty!

    Spring time is an insane time! Seeds, and seedlings, soil! From clay, to plastic, burlap, to brick! No matter how many questions there are, isn't spring time great? The last snow is falling and you think to yourself " DANG IT! My tomatoes will never have a chance unless I plant them NOW!!" And out come the seedlings trays, and a quick trip the the nursery. Soil and seeds in hand, it's time to get planting! We started early this year, March actually! I had taken over pretty much the whole kitchen, and as May long weekend is closer and closer, (next weekend to be exact) The amount of space in the kitchen has started to grow again as my precious little babies I have been nursing for the last 2 months are slowly put out to enjoy their start in life!


    I swear, my dear husband thinks I have gone mad. And he will for years to come I'm sure, but each year, when he bites into the first tomato off the vine, he won't think I'm so crazy after all ;)

    There is something more gratifying then most things, when you get to pick "the fruits of your labour". And just something soothing about the greenery you can surround yourself when you have plants. It's comforting in a way! Also knowing the health benefits of growing your own food just isn't something you can compare, to buying at the grocery store.

    I hope everyone at some point in their lives has a chance to grow something of their own! We grow radishes in ice cream containers, beet tops in silverware containers, bunching onion in juice jugs, and strawberries in pop bottles to name a few. Conventional pots, re-used containers, anything you can grow in, is a good idea! Happy gardening to all. I will soon post some more info, and photos of the happy little garden!

    New to me!

    I am working on getting this all fixed up. I have been learning all about extensions, pages, and posts etc etc etc! Trying to learn something way too late at night is proving to be difficult! I will eventually have sections for gardening, clothing/fashions, foodies, books, sewing and painting, and photography to name a few! If one person can take something from what I show you, then that makes me happy! The only rule is make it your own! Play on ideas, and recipes to make them your very own, it is most enjoyable :) From crafts, to critters, and treats, that is what makes life enjoyable! Learning, growing and loving your surroundings. There is beauty in everything, you just need to know where to look. Most of the time it can be in the smallest places, you never would have thought it to be!