tawashi Most of yesterday was spent struggling with a migraine that just wouldn’t go away. By the time the kid’s bedtime came, I was really desperate for some quiet. After getting the babe to sleep, I curled up on the chair with a cup of tea and some cotton yarn and a hook. I have seen different versions of tawashi (Japanese scrubbies) all around the internet lately. They are so cute, and best of all, practical. Washing the dishes is part of every day, so why not do it with something cute. This is the tawashi pattern I used for these. They are really simple, and I was able to make two of them really quickly. There are lots of other patterns and variations out there, and I am looking forward to trying out some other types as well. These work up really quickly, and you can make them out of small amounts of yarn, so perfect for using up scraps. With Christmas around the corner, these would make fantastic stocking stuffers as well. Who doesn’t need to wash dishes? They could also be used instead of washcloths for the little ones provided that you use a soft yarn. There are so many uses and they can just be tossed into the wash when they need to be cleaned. Sounds like a win-win to me. I know that I will be working on quite a few of these in the next few weeks, aren’t they great?

crochet, green, home • Thursday, November 19th, 2009 • 17 Comments »

Pear Custard Pie

pear custard pieAs promised, here is the pear custard pie. It is one of our all time favourite desserts, and it’s perfect for the autumn when there is an abundance of pears. I have made this for years and it is so easy. Really, all you do is peel the pears and put them in a pie plate. You blend the other ingredients together and pour them over the pears. That’s it, so it’s even perfect for someone who doesn’t really like to bake. Here is the recipe for the custard pie. It really is easy and delicious, do try it. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who stop by and visit, and a very big thank you to those of you who take the time to comment. I really appreciate it. I’ve been gathering lots of ideas for the kids and I to work on for Christmas, so as we get them done I will be sharing them with you. Lots to do in the next month, but I’ve come across some great ideas that we are really excited about. Hope you guys have a great day.

food • Wednesday, November 18th, 2009 • 13 Comments »

Cloth Diapers

cloth diapers.jpgSo many things that are better for us and the environment are so much more expensive than the alternatives. As a family of six on a pretty tight budget, we can’t always do the better choice. We try where we can, such as starting to garden and grow our own food, lowering the thermostat and just wearing extra clothes etc. One decision we made was to use cloth diapers, we switched over when our now five year old daughter was a year old. I have never regretted this decision. When I found out exactly what is in disposable diapers I never wanted to put them on her tender tush again. I talked my hubby into switching and got to learning the basics. We went with prefolds and covers instead of the all in one diapers as these were much, much cheaper. Even now with our fourth baby, I still prefer prefolds as I personally think they are easier to clean and still much, much cheaper. Even the bigger size that we use on our 15 month old was still only $2 dollars a diaper. Granted she grew so much so quickly when she was little, we were buying new covers in bigger sizes for a while, but that evened out and we haven’t bought anything new since she was about six months old. When all is said and done, we have probably spent $150 total and these will last until she is potty trained. When we had babies in disposables, we spent $150 in less than four months and that was on the cheapest disposables available. I have been so thrilled knowing that it is so much better for the babe, the environment, and most definitely the wallet. I get such a thrill whenever we are in a store that sells diapers, just thinking that we aren’t paying a cent. Even when she is out of diapers, they will still make great cleaning rags, so they just keep giving. As far as laundry goes, on average, it’s only two extra loads a week, so not much extra time at all. When the weather is nice, there is something about hanging them all on the line, something strangely peaceful and calming. Call me strange, it’s ok. This is one choice that we have made that we really love, and any chance I get, I tout the benefits of cloth diapering. For a while when we first switched, I was the only one in our town that did, so I had several people calling and asking questions. It was a lot of fun, and now quite a few other people cloth diaper as well. If you still have little ones in diapers, perhaps you can consider switching, you won’t regret it.

family • Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 • 29 Comments »

A Winter Wreath

autumn wreathI’m not normally a wreath person, but I had seen several pictures lately of wreaths made with pinecones and other nuts that I just loved the look of. This past Saturday I was in our local thrift store looking for a few items and as soon as I walked in the door, this beauty was sitting on the table right inside. Someone had taken the time to individually wire all of the pinecones, chestnuts, walnuts and many other gorgeous brown items to a frame. It is absolutely beautiful and they were practically giving it away at $1. I really love that it’s not Christmassy as it can be displayed all through the autumn and winter. It always make me a little sad when I see things that were so lovingly made go for such a small sum. On the other hand, I am thankful that it wasn’t just tossed out, and now my family can give it a new life where it will be much loved and appreciated.

home, nature, thrift store finds • Monday, November 16th, 2009 • 15 Comments »

Flapjack Woes

flapjackI grew up in England and one of my favourite treats was a flapjack. They are moist and slightly chewy oatmeal bar thingies (great description, I know). I have tried several times to make them and no matter what I do, they just don’t turn out. I have used two different tried and true recipes and it’s just not working for me, at all. This is really disappointing and I am not sure how to remedy it. Today we woke up to more snow, not enough to play in, not even enough to look pretty. Just enough to make the sky a dull grey, so mid morning after being on the phone trying to deal with the hospital trying to overcharge me by $40,000 (long story…) I got everything out to make some flapjacks. I followed the recipe to a T and once again they flopped. Only the very top layer actually stuck together, the rest has to be eaten with a spoon as none of it stuck together at all. In the picture, it is just a very thin layer of flapjack balanced on my mug. Does anyone have any idea why this is happening and how I can fix it? I would really appreciate any help I can get as I really miss having a good flapjack.

food • Saturday, November 14th, 2009 • 23 Comments »

Fabric Headbands

headbandI love these headbands. They are Heather Bailey’s Hooray for Headbands. I made this particular headband about 3 years ago and my little one has been wearing it for that long. It’s hard to tell, but there is a piece of elastic under the bow in the back so there is a bit of room for a growing head. They are just now starting to get snug, so I need to make up some more for her. It will now be time to pass these down to the babe as they fit her head perfectly, with some room to grow. I love that you can pick whatever fabrics you want, mix and match, and there are sizes for babies, girls, and women so you can make them for any gal you know. Who wouldn’t like a fun headband, or several? They would also make perfect stocking stuffers and they are very quick to put together. It is a quick, fun, and super cute project, do try some.

sewing • Friday, November 13th, 2009 • 12 Comments »

New Things in My Kitchen

artdesk.jpg My mom recently gave us this beautiful child size desk. It now has a home in the corner of our kitchen, as our art desk. On top are coloured pencils, glue, rulers, scissors, erasers, and little folded paper books. We also have our Usborne Spotter’s Guides for quick reference and our nature bowl, which from this angle looks empty, but it’s full of rocks and dried flowers and a couple of acorns. artdesktopdrawers.jpg The top drawers are filled with different sizes of papers and the bottom drawer, which came with a metal divider, is filled with bits of string, yarn, fabric and sparkly papers. There are also some crayons and cardboard tubes for crafting. art desk bottom drawer.jpg I deliberately kept it pretty empty so that it is easy to get to all of the materials, and hopefully it won’t get too messy. Next up is my new farmhouse kitchen table. The photos don’t do the desk and table justice as the lighting in our house is really bad. Since we have lived in this house we have been eating around a small built in table. It has always been tight squeezing all of our family around it, but with the addition of the babe, it just wasn’t working anymore. We were so cramped that I ended up with food from the babe’s fingers all over my sleeve and sometimes in my hair. Needless to say, we needed a better solution. farmhousetable We’ve been keeping an eye out for a good table and we hit the jackpot when we were at our local thrift store last week. The same day that we found the stool, we found this table. It is almost six feet long and exactly what I was looking for. It was scratched up and one of the legs was loose, but with a fresh coat of paint and some tightening of the legs, we now have a super sturdy, beautiful kitchen table. The best part is that it cost $20, and I can’t tell you how fantastic it is for the six of us to sit around a table and have room not only to eat without chewing on someone else’s elbows, but there’s even enough room to put extra food on the table. This past weekend, Hubby ripped out the table and painted the walls and tore out some cabinets that cut the room in half. It is so much better now, much more open and the whole space feels so much better, and brighter. I forgot to take pictures of the cupboards that he took out, but I did snap a picture of the wallpaper that was covering the whole kitchen. Let me just say that I am so very glad the walls are now a beautiful shade of antique white instead of this. bluestrawberries Hope you all have a great day.

family, home, kid's art, thrift store finds • Thursday, November 12th, 2009 • 19 Comments »

Pears, Lots of Pears

babypearsWell, I should have known that things always take longer than expected with four little ones under foot. The kitchen is still in chaos, which unfortunately is seeping into the living room. Oh the joys of demolition and painting. It is so worth it though. It’s not by any means a full makeover, there are still plenty of things left to do, but two major things were taken care of and it has made a huge difference. I’m really hoping to have some decent pictures tomorrow, unless of course, life gets in the way. Onto the pears, there was a slight miscommunication the other day when Hubby went to the store. When I write out grocery lists, I usually write the sale price next to the item so that I can make sure they’re charging the right price (which all too often doesn’t happen). Anyway, next to pears, I had written $10 for 10lbs, which is a good price around here. Hubby thought I meant to get 10 pounds. Oops. Not really a problem though as my kiddos descend on fruit like locusts. As soon as they ripen up a tad, I have the most delicious pear custard pie recipe to share with you. I can hardly wait myself, as it is a favourite around here. Back to the grindstone, hope everyone is having a great day.

food, home • Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 • 17 Comments »

Stool Makeover

before stoolWe have a pretty small kitchen which also serves as our dining room. Up to this point we have had a very small built in table that we have eaten at, but it was no longer working for us as we couldn’t fit all six of us around it very comfortably. This past weekend Hubby ripped it out (more on that tomorrow) and we have purchased a new, bigger table. Because the table is bigger and there is not a lot of space, I have been keeping my eye out for some stools that would fit under the table when not in use. We stopped by our local thrift store the other day and on my way out of one of the buildings I saw this poor, sad little stool. He was painted a bizarre wood-like colour and was covered in filthy old brown corduroy. He is super sturdy, and the best part was that he was only $1.50. I snapped him up and with a little bit of a clean up, some fresh paint and new fabric, here he is. after stool I really wanted some kind of a neutral-ish floral print so that it would look nice but still blend in with the table and other chairs, but since I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and we need the stool now, I covered him in unbleached muslin. I’ll still keep my eye out for a different fabric that will work, but in the meantime, he looks so much cleaner and will be perfect for our needs. I was so excited that I found exactly what I was looking for for such a great price. We are really lucky with our thrift store, it has such great prices, and this is the kind of thing that really gets me going. I really love taking something old and worn out, or just plain ugly and turning it into something that is useful and beautiful. More fun stuff tomorrow, have a great day!

home, thrift store finds • Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 • 10 Comments »

Writing Backwards

backwards writingI love this picture from my daughter. She has really taken off with writing and I just love how when she runs out of room, she just rounds the corner and writes backwards. I’m not sure if you can tell but when she hit the end she started on the next line which says “made this for” and then turns back around and writes Grandma. I do love little one’s writing. It says so much about them, doesn’t it? I used to write backwards a lot when I was little. I hear this is pretty common with lefties, which explains me, but my daughter is a righty and does this a lot. I love it. Pretty chaotic around here still, trying to put things back into place after some demo work and lots of painting. Hope to have some pictures on Wednesday for you. Let me just say that I am loving my kitchen now, it’s no where near done and not by any means perfect, but it’s so much better than it was. Hope you all had a great weekend!

family, homeschooling, kid's art • Monday, November 9th, 2009 • 9 Comments »