Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pin Cushions

I found the tutorial for these Pin Cushions at whip up quite a while ago. I had the fabric circles cut out and sitting in a zippy bag on top of my microwave forever. I freely admit to having the worst habit of starting something, getting it all organized and ready and then just stopping.

I'm trying to make a concentrated effort in stopping this annoying habit. This week I have cleaned out the front hall coat closet that my husband has been begging me to do for weeks and finished these pin cushions. At least now I have a few cute little hostess gifts at the ready!

In the back ground is the December 2008 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine published by Better Homes and Gardens. I've started working on the quilt in the back ground. I have about 150 of the 348 flying geese blocks completed so far.

Mum and Dad hope you enjoy your Florida Thanksgiving tomorrow! XOXO

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cinnamon Sandwich Cookies

My Sunday meme "This is..." that I've been participating in has been discontinued by it's creator. So today I thought I would share some pictures of a cookie I made last weekend.

They are called "Cinnamon Sandwich Cookies". I found the recipe in my December 2008 Canadian Living Magazine. Sorry, I couldn't find a link to the recipe.

I'm glad that I made them if only for the practice of rolling and cutting of the dough. I'm in a cookie exchange at work this year and have been trying to think of a few nice cookies to make.

I had thought of including this one. They are truly lovely in appearance and taste, but after two days in the tin they were a bit "soft" and not crisp any more; probably from the jam. Not a recipe I will be keeping in my collection of favourites.

HOWEVER, from the same magazine I made "Basque-Style Chicken" which was fan-freaking-tastic. Recipe linked here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Beaujolais Nouveau Day

Each year, on the third Thursday in November, it's "Beaujolais Nouveau" Day. In France, and around the world, it is the official release date of the years new wines produced from the hand picked Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais region of France.

Beaujolais Day, next to Christmas and perhaps my birthday are my favourite days of the year. I was at the LCBO 10 minutes after opening today. The ladies were well impressed that I was the first purchaser for the day; I purchase a case every year.

The wine is very light and should be drunk within the year. Most critics will rip it apart and fluff it off as a marketing scheme. Personally, I think you should just enjoy it for what it is....a reason to celebrate a fun little bit of history with the friends you like! Run out NOW and get some because it will be all gone by the weekend, bottles are in limited release.

PS: make sure Brie and Crackers are involved!

PPS: Here's a picture from this morning.....Grrrr apparently it's here!!!

Snow Thrower

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This favourite thing from nature.

Hmm, this is a tough one; how can you possibly narrow down the one best thing that you love from nature. I would have to say the best thing is WATER.

WATER is what gives everything on our planet life; without it we would not survive.

I try not to be too wasteful with my water consumption and always respect it by not littering. The smallest amount of litter will eventually find it's way to a water source through storm drains. Ever notice the junk you see on a walk down by the beach or lakefront. I know I've seen enough plastic tampon applicators and balloons on ribbon; they came from somewhere??

Without WATER I would not be able to enjoy the lovely flowers and herbs from my garden.

My oddest water story happened when I was filling my water bottle up from the sink at work. Some girl looked at me with deep concern and asked me if I thought it was actually safe to drink the tap water. Huh? I would hope so being that I live in Canada, however there was the Walkerton incident; but I refuse to live my life in fear of tap water.

I'm sure the spit-bunnies from everyones bottle tops touching the spout on the water cooler at work is more disgusting than the tap water I'm drinking.

This weeks theme is was provided by Beth at cloth and fodder.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This favorite quote

Always a Coconut!

Whenever something goes wrong, or not according to plan, for the Big Man and I we always look at each other and say in unison "Always a Coconut".

I have no idea how we ever started saying this but it has lightened up many a stressful situation....for example, sitting in an airport in Miami for 12 hours trying to get on standby flights every two hours, no luck...hence an "Always a Coconut" situation.

This weeks theme was provided by Ashely at strawberry kisses.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kitchen Renovation

Last week the Big Man and I were on vacation. For us, vacations are either spent on floating boats of endless food OR completing large home renovation projects. This time we decided to tackle our kitchen.

I fell in love with this picture I found in a Martha Stewart Living magazine-May 2008 issue. I had intended to use the inspiration for our bedroom makeover but decided to use it for the kitchen instead.

On the Saturday, we started by taking off all of the cabinet doors; sanding and prepping them for painting out on the back deck to keep the dust down in the house.

This is the mess we were left with. I have complained before that my cabinets are all in the wrong place, inaccessible and frustrating. If anyone has any organizational tips I'd love to hear them.

I have to say the one thing that made this whole project tolerable is the fact that we have an air compressor and various air tools. There is no way I would even contemplate brushing and rolling on melamine paint to 22 cabinet doors.

I sprayed one coat to the back of the doors and two coats to the front. Melamine paint is very smelly and is basically liquid plastic. In the last two pictures above, you can see how heavy the air was with paint mist. The respirator I have on is of very good quality and blocks particles and vapours.

I hand painted the trim on the cabinet facing.

We allowed the doors to dry for about 24 hours between coats. It took about two and a half hours to spray each coat. We worked in an assembly line fashion. My husband would bring out some unpainted doors to spray and then I would pass them up to him from the garage where he would then take them down to the basement to dry.

The temperature outside was comfortable for the first two coats of paint but on the Tuesday when we were spraying the final coat on the front of the doors is was really chilly. I think it was probably too cold to be painting outside; they spray gun kept jamming and the paint kept thickening up. In the end it turned out great but this was the only moment that I honestly almost started crying out of frustration.

2 years ago we went to Australia and New Zealand to visit my husbands family. At his cousins house they had this soap called Solvol in the bathroom. Every time I garden or do home renovations I break out the Solvol. It has little bits of scratchy stuff embedded in it that helps to scrape the gunk off your hands, plus it smells really nice and doesn't make your skin dry out. Crazy as it is, this is the best souvenir I brought home and it always brings back fond memories of that trip.

After taking Wednesday off to enjoy some vineyards at Niagara on the Lake we started on the wall paint. The Big Man is an excellent trim taper and paint cutter inner (two tasks that I hate) and I am an excellent roller. Together we're a great painting team!

This is after the first coat was done. I have to give a smoochy thank you to our friends Mr. Mister. They have a decorating business and use nothing but Sico Cashmere Paint. OMG this stuff is fantastic! It is more expensive than your average brand of paint but so worth the extra $20.00 a can. It has no smell, covers fully with two coats, does not "spit"when rolling, cleans up very easily, and dries to a perfect finish with no visible roller lines. I highly recommend this paint!

We used the air tools once again to add trim to the top and bottom of all the cabinet facings.

Almost there........

At the bottom of the cabinets we use added trim as well.

We added new door pulls.....hmmm, I just noticed that little blob of paint under the ledge. Thankfully you can't see it from up above and generally people don't lay on my kitchen floor so I should be OK!

We decided to add wall board to the side of all the exposed cabinet edges. This stuff is very inexpensive and is made of what looks like recycled cardboard and wood fibres. Once painted it looks like real wood and really added that something special!

See how great that looks!!

I also have to give a big Thank You to RONA located in South Whitby. At no extra charge they cut all of the bead board to our exact measurements. I had also gone back for an extra small can of paint to finish off the cabinets on the Monday night. I'd already purchased a small tin earlier in the day and brought it back with me so they could match the paint colour code on the label.

I couldn't find another small can on the shelf and asked for some help. The service girl checked their records which indicated that they had more in stock but she couldn't find it either. She asked if I had my bill, then she took back my already purchased small tin and replaced it with the large can at no extra charge!

The picture above shows the wall board and trim added to the sides and tops of the cabinets around the sink. I still have my crappy curtains but I'm hoping to replace them with California Shutters some time soon.

Since we spend a great deal of time in kitchen, we swapped out our TV from the bedroom because it is much bigger. Basically I just fall asleep listening to the news in bed so it seemed such a waste not to enjoy the big screen in the kitchen especially since we have an HD satellite box and HD cables.


I plan on painting my buffet hutch, kitchen table and chairs all a dark chocolate brown in the spring in order to complete the look. Our total cost for everything was $408.00 along with a ton of hard work. We are both so very happy with the end result.

It might not have been a cruise but the week was filled with good food, wine, cheesy horror movies and great dancing tunes. Thanks Big Man I couldn't have done it with out you!! XOXO

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This is...a favourite recipe I'd like to share

Well the kitchen renovation is DONE! I'm working on the post and should have it up by Tuesday. Until then, here is my weekly "This is..." entry asked by Angela at Three Buttons.

I'm not suggesting this is my favourite recipe, but it's the recipe requested by the Big Man this afternoon.

Pumpkin Pie

The recipe is here: E.D. Smith Pumpkin Pie

The Pie Crust recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and can be found here. I have used it before for my very first pie ever.

Making the pumpkin pie custard filling.

And just another picture because it looks so pretty!

My favourite recipe would be "Pork Chops in Mushroom Soup" with mashed potatoes on the side. The recipe is pretty much Pork Butt Chops with a tin of Campbell's mushroom soup dumped on top and baked in the oven. Easy eh?

Now, if you paid really close attention to the pictures above you might be able to spot some of the kitchen changes!