Thursday, March 31, 2011

And back to Winter... again.

This was supposed to go up yesterday. I'm not exactly sure what happened. So while reading please imagine that it is Thursday morning.

Yesterday Gunner and I spent almost the entire day outside. We crafted together in the morning, and then we cleaned up the yard all afternoon. Reggie and I have a 1/2 acre lot, so I only got to clean about 1/3 of it, but it is progress. It was even warm enough for me to hang some laundry out to dry. I actually got my first sunburn of the season, and yes I was wearing suncream. And today, snow...
I spent a little time in the garden, cutting down some things, and getting rid of leaves that we didn't get to before the snow fell in the fall. As you can see, this garden is looking pretty bleak:
On a positive note, the warm weather and time outside yesterday helped me get my butt in gear and buy some potting soil, and it was on sale! So over the next few days I will work on planting some seeds for the summer, as well as re-potting some of my indoor plants that need a little more space.
So mother nature, you can't keep me down for long. I know Spring is here (somewhere), and I will be in my garden soon!

How is spring shaping up where you are? Let me know below!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

On a beautiful sunny day, nothing seems better than to soak up the rays while crafting with my boy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Surprise Gifts are Always Lovely :)

I'm feeling a little under the weather this morning. Being female can sometimes be a curse... However as I lay on the couch, cuddling with the microwaveable heat bag Crystal made me for Christmas, I can smell something beautiful!
Hyacinths are a beautiful fragrant spring flower! And in white! So lovely. Reggie's mom gave these to me (and some to Crystal) the other day when we went to Crystal's for dinner. Now, with these and the other spring bulbs Reggie gave me for Valentine's Day, I am going to have an entire spring garden to plant in the fall!

No, I'm not wishing away summer before it is here, but fall happens to be my favourite... And along with my Wedding and Birthday there are so many other things I love about the season. However, let's stay focused: Spring has Sprung!

Monday, March 28, 2011

First Catch

Reggie pulled his ice hut off last weekend, due to the impending spring weather. These last few days, however, have felt a little more like winter. During the winter he fished mostly for Lake Trout. This weekend, Reggie decided to do some ice-fishing (minus hut) on Lake Simcoe, in good Perch area. And, after all his hard work he brought home 18 yellow perch! He said it was less than 1/4 of what he caught. What a day!

And this is why we need to clean out the freezer; we have more coming in already!
Fishing... something I tried in Nfld, and enjoyed although never really stuck with. Reggie is going to have to pick-up where my Newfoundland family took off. But until then, I'm glad he's so eager!
I know what I'm having for dinner tonight, how about you?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Freezer (Part I)

This time of year, we are all energized by the warm breeze and longer days. And for some reason we are programmed to participate in some sort of spring cleaning. I am going to write a series of posts about some of the spring cleaning activities that I am doing. Right now I am working on cleaning out the freezer. In summer and fall I make sure to pack lots of treats away for the winter months, usually hand-picked berries, grated zucchini, pureéd pumpkin and squash, as well as corn, peas and carrots, and wild game caught by Reggie. Often when we cook, we make large batches of food (soup, chili, etc) and freeze parts of it for evenings when we feel like cooking is going to be too much after a long day. So, needless to say, there is  lots of stuff in our freezer, and this time of year we need to start cleaning it out, to make room for what is coming this summer!

I have some easy recipes, that are good ways to use up some of the things you can find in your freezer:

Berry Oatmeal
2 cups  water
¾ cup  oatmeal
2 tbsp  brown sugar
1 tsp    cinnamon
½ cup  chopped cranberries/strawberries (or whatever berries you have hiding in the freezer)

Coarsely chop berries, set aside. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to medium heat and add oats. Cook, stirring often until all water is absorbed. Add sugar, cinnamon and berries and stir until berries are heated through. I usually top with homemade granola and about ⅓ cup of milk.

Creamy Macaroni
2 cups  macaroni
½ cup milk
1 tbsp  flour
½ tsp   garlic powder
¼ tsp   onion powder
Pinch   salt and pepper
¾ cup  peas/carrots (or other veggies you have tucked away in the freezer)

Defrost veggies and set aside. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil, add pasta and cook al dente (usually 9 minutes); drain, and set aside. Meanwhile in a small saucepan combine the milk, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper over medium heat. Whisk frequently until milk thickens, remove from heat. In a large saucepan combine pasta, cream sauce and veggies and mix over low heat until heated through.

This is breakfast and lunch, and I do have a couple delicious recipes for supper and dessert, but you will have to wait until next week.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Shadows

This morning was cold and bright. The sunshine is deceiving this time of year, it makes it appear to be warm outside. I put on a fleece, a vest and some mitts. It was nice in the sun, but the wind was cold! I was slightly under-dressed. However, Gunner enjoyed it immensely!

I am excited for warm afternoons, later sunsets and water sports! I left work yseterday shortly after 8pm, and to my surprise it wasn't completely dark yet. Very exciting!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend Workshop - Rug Hooking 101

So with all my talk about rug hooking, I thought I should give you a little view into how it is done. Here are some of the Rugs that I have completed.

< The first rug I hooked, a kit desgined by Molly at Molly Made

> My third rug, a design that was inspired by an older kit that my grandmother had (something else I inherited from her)

And my pride and joy:
I made this rug for my parents for Christmas. It was supposed to be for Christmas 2009, and when I started it in August 2009 I thought I had lots of time ahead of me. But no, unfortunately when I was still in school and working, rug hooking had to take the back burner. And then I worked on it a little here and there. Then in October 2010, I decided I had to get to work (after a quick trip to my second home in Sept I was energized). But when December 26th rolled around (when we visited), I still wasn't finished. So I wrapped it, and gifted it to my parents and when they opened it said "I have to take it back with me to finish it". Luckily no one was too stressed, and I got it done by mid-feb when I visited them. Now it has a place of honour at their cottage :)

Now, for your to start your own hooking projects. Visit the tutorials page and follow the appropriate link!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sewing Project: Laptop Cozy

Last night I went, with my sewing machine and lots of stuff in tow, to visit my friend Crystal from Crafty Ave. I wasn't sure what I wanted to accomplish, but I thought I should at least take my sewing machine and try to figure it out. See my sewing machine once belonged to my grandmother, and although my mother has assured me (many times) it is a very good one, and works perfectly well, I was a little nervous to get stitching. However, last night (after figuring out how to re-thread/bobbin the machine) I discovered just how wonderfully it sews! I will have to take a photo and share the machine, it is quite lovely, and it must be 30? years old (mom, help me out with a comment below?). Anyhow, I have wanted a case for my laptop for quite some time, so I decided to freehand it, and see what I came up with.
I used a fleece blanket I found at the dollar store for the lining, and a piece of fabric I got from a local thrift store (don't worry Crystal, I washed it first). Also, I only had burgundy thread, as all the thread Crystal had didn't fit my machine. So it isn't the prettiest, but my laptop fits, and I am quite pleased! And it was aptly named a laptop cozy by Mr. Crafty Ave (hehe, thanks Mr.).
I do need something from you however, please post below with comments as to which buttons you think I should use. Of, if you have a completely different idea I am open to suggestions. Also, if you are interested in more details as to how I did this, let me know, and I can write a quick tutorial for it. 

Thanks! Write you soon :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Through my/a Lens (Long Range Mountains)

This is a hike I have not yet completed; although I aspire to see it one day. These photos were graciously donated by my friend Tommy (except the first one, it's mine :), who had the wonderful opportunity to hike the Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne National Park.
the journey begins on a boat

and then a long hike uphill

followed by a very familiar scene (Hi Tommy!)

It is a 3-5 day hike, depending on physical ability, weather and orienteering skills. And it can be longer if fog decides to roll in and out-stay its welcome. I hope one day Reggie and I will be able to do it, but I have a feeling it is a while down the road. Thanks for the photos Tommy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Obsession: Pottery

As I was washing some dishes the other day I realized I have a lot of pottery. I remember when my Grandfather passed away and we were moving my Grandmother into a smaller place, she had lots of pottery pieces that no one else wanted. I gratefully accepted all of them! Here is some of my collection:
Some of them I have collected over time, some I received as gifts, and some I got has hand-me-downs. But I love every single piece. And here are a few of my favourites:
Milk and Sugar set

Spice, Jam and Honey pots

Raku Bowl, and mug made by the Kerslakes
I have a hard time at craft shows, or studio tours. I am always drawn to the pottery booths and I know I can't afford $16 for one mug, but they are so beautiful! Every time I go into a thrift store I find myself standing just a little too long in the kitchen wares section, drooling over old pottery bowls. Although I suppose a thrift store is a more affordable place to feed my addiction.

What is your obsession?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lazy Monday

Everyone keeps saying that today is the first full day of spring. But this morning we had wet snow on the ground, and it is a little cooler outside. Reggie and I had a day off together yesterday, and spent most of it spring cleaning. We are working at getting the yard cleaned up as the snow continues to melt and also to get the grit out of the house. Also, yesterday was my first day off after a streak of seven days working (which is why my posts were quite short, and there was no crafting), so I think after all my hard work I am ready for a lazy day! Thanks mother nature for encouraging me to stay inside and get some blogging and crafting done.
 Gunner agrees that today is a good day to relax with a toy or cuddle up on a blanket with a teddy. Isn't he cute!?
So after my long working streak I was supposed to have a few (5) days off in a row. But one of the owners at the store I work at has asked me to come in and help with some receiving. I am happy to have the hours! But... Here is the list of things that I was planning on getting done this week:
  • Finish the coasters I started at the beginning of March
  • Knit the shawl for my wedding, using some beautiful handspun
  • Get my taxes submitted (eek)
  • Write the tutorial I promised last Friday
  • Write an article on hooking for my friend at Let it Unravel
  • Start planting some seeds (inside) to gear up for a season of gardening!
I plan on continuing with these goals, but I'm sure I will not get them all done with fewer days off. That being said, I will try my best!

How is your spring going so far?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring! And it will soon be time to get out in the garden and encourage the colour to bloom. But for now, enjoy an appropriately named song by my favourite band! This is Hey Rosetta's newest single. They are from St John's NL, and I saw them for the first time at the Woody Point Heritage Theatre in July 2009!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Sweet

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
½ cup  unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup   brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups  pumpkin purée
2 cups  all purpose flour
2 tbsp  cinnamon
1½ tbsp baking powder
1 tsp    ginger
½ tsp   salt
½ cup  pecan/walnut pieces
1 cup   cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 325˚F. If using dried cranberries, in a bowl cover with warm water and set aside, if using fresh (frozen) chop in half/thirds. Grease 2 muffin pans, if you prefer use paper cups.

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Mix in the pumpkin. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon baking powder, ginger and salt. Carefully add dry ingredients to wet, one cup at a time, until just blended. Add cranberries and nuts, mix until distributed.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, until almost full. Bake on centre rack for 23-27 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean. Let cool 5-10 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, up to 5 days.

I found this recipe in an 'Inspired' Magazine, from Foodland fall 2010. I changed a few things, like I used pumpkin that I have cooked, puréed and stored, instead of canned; I used fresh frozen cranberries; and I used walnuts instead of pecans. All good choices as far as I am concerned!

Happy Snacking!

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's almost here!

Last night there was the most incredible thunderstorm! I love storms :) When I was young I would lay awake and watch them through my window, and was always upset if I happened to sleep through one. Well last night about 10pm, there was a huge roll of thunder, and initially I thought "it can't be thunder, it's too early in the season". Was I ever wrong, there was thunder and lightning well into the evening. Actually, I fell asleep to the rumbles and sporadic light show through my window. This means spring, and even summer is close! I am starting to get really excited for warmer weather (I generally prefer cool crisp days, to the hot humid summer we get around here). But until then I am happy to layer up and grab a chai latte for the trip!

Check back later on for another weekend workshop!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Green Day!

I am not Irish, nor do I have a dominant Irish heritage. Also, I am not a big drinker. So for me St. Patrick's Day really just makes me think of Green, and Shamrocks... Plants! And recently it has been warm, almost spring like, so this year St. Patrick's Day is making me think of the planting season to come. Last year I planted a small veggie garden, but I planted it late, and had to buy a number of seedlings, that were slightly overgrown. So this year I am going to start early and grow my own seedlings, so when the ground is ready I will have seeds and seedlings ready to go. I am so excited! I will keep you updated as I work!

Keep dreaming about warm days and late sunsets!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Through my Lens (Cape St. Mary's)

This is a beautiful spot where many seabirds stop on their way to or from breeding or wintering locations; located on the south-west tip of the Avalon Peninsula. I was amazed at the number of birds that I saw as well as how vast the ocean seemed from where I stood on the cliffs.