Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bean bags are fun!

Unsure what to bring as a present to a one year old's b'day party, when not buying anything new, I decided on a bag of mini bean bags. I was able to make the bean bags from scraps of fabric so didn't have to buy anything except for the lentils to fill them with. Which is the other benefit aside from fun - if there is ever a food shortage (ahem, peak oil), the bean bags are full of food!

Hubby and I had fun testing them to make sure they were securely sewn and wouldn't leak lentils at the hands of a one year old.

Our very scientific test involved throwing them at each other as fast as we could to see how many each of us could catch. I think I caught more but to be fair, hubby is way more accurate with fast throwing. Instead of throwing the bean bags at hubby I seemed to throw them all over the room - over his head, way too far to the left and the right. And a couple of times, right at his head! :-o

Luckily the bags passed our tests so made it to the b'day party in a little drawstring bag I made out of one of the larger fabric scraps.

To make bean bags for little ones, all you need are:

2 squares of fabric 4"x4". Put right sides together and sew a 1/2" seam almost all the way around leaving a 1.5"-2" gap on one side. Sew an additional seam on the outside of the first seam leaving the same gap (this seam is to ensure the beans stay in the bag). Turn the bean bag right side out. Fill 3/4 full with lentils. Hand sew the gap.

Keep going until you have enough for a good pile for squishing, grabbing and throwing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cranberry ginger scones

I can't believe how easy these scones are to make. They were perfect for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast. I wasn't sure if the stone ground kamut flour would work as I've only ever eaten scones made with white flour before. But it totally did. In fact I think I prefer them to the ones made with white flour.

Here's the recipe:

3 cups flour (I used local kamut flour from Little Stream bakery)
1/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup organic butter (cubed)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (chopped) - I used ones from Upper Canada Cranberry
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp diced candied ginger
1/2 cup organic milk
1/2 cup organic yogurt (I used Pinehedge yogurt)

-Set oven at 400 degrees.
-Line a baking tray with parchment paper
-Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
-Put flour mixture in a food processor, add butter and process
-Add the 1tbsp candied ginger
-Mix yogurt and milk together
-Gradually add yogurt/milk mixture to the processor
-Turn dough out onto a floured surface
-Knead in cranberries and remaining ginger until just mixed (dough should be quite sticky)
-Form dough into a round about 1" thick and cut into 10-12 (triangles, squares, whatever shape you like!)
-Bake for 20-25 mins (until the tops are brown)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If I'm going to be riding to and from work in the rain

I'm going to have to get some rain gear. Because biking for 45 mins in the rain in rolled up jeans is not practical!

Although I have to admit there is something about riding in the rain and getting soaked that made me feel like big kid. I'm pretty sure I was smiling the whole way home. :-)

And that's basically all I have to say about that so Mum and Mom in law, you can stop reading now.

Ok, now that they have stopped reading, I have got to get my brakes fixed. The back brake didn't work at all and the front brake was only just with a lot of squeaking and juddering. What's the deal with that? Brakes should work in the rain yes?

Ok, so moms, you probably did read that. So...um....just kidding! I totally would never ride my bike if the brakes didn't work!! Who would do that? Not me that's for sure!

(seriously though peeps - what could the problem be - cable? pads?)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ahhhhhh yeah

Home-made honey vanilla chocolate chunk gelato. Made with the hand crank ice cream maker I got at the Salvation Army 2 weeks ago. Also with local honey and egg, and relatively local organic milk and cream (non-local vanilla and fair trade choc).

Enjoyed with best friends.

Does it get any better?

Friday, June 12, 2009

What's growing in my garden this year

Thought I'd make a quick list of what we have growing this year in our small 33'x 20' urban backyard (part of which is patio). It doesn't get any more local than this!

  • Raspberries

  • Gooseberries (although they are in even worse shape than they were here)

  • Blackberries (new this year so won't fruit until next year)

  • Potatoes - yukon gold (using the tower method)

  • Beans - hopi black, scarlet runner, royal burgundy, thibodeau du comte beauce, ozark

  • Peas - spanish skyscraper, sugar snap

  • Broccoli

  • Eggplants (planting this weekend)

  • Green peppers

  • Broad beans

  • Tomatoes - italian plum, orange cherry (not sure of the proper name), brandywine, plus some other seedlings of various types that got a bit frosted but I'm still going to try to squeeze in somewhere)

  • Spearmint

  • Peppermint

  • Thyme

  • Anise hyssop

  • Lemon balm

  • Sage (not sure what kind)

  • Oregano

  • Parsley (curly)

(yes I also appear to be growing pests!)
  • Caterpillars (on gooseberries - picked off my hand - ineffective)

  • Black fly /aphids (on broad beans - going to try spraying with soapy water but am open to suggestions!)

  • Mystery pest (on raspberries but seems to be under control)

  • Earwigs (on everything - don't seem to be doing too much damage so am not worried)

  • Flea beetle (on the beans - going to plant some sacrificial sorrel this weekend)

  • Squirrels - the bane of my existence

What's growing in your garden?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to make a rug out of old t-shirts

Got a bunch of old t-shirts kicking around? Perhaps you bought them at concerts years ago, or perhaps you were given them for participating in a sporting event. Either way, we both know you aren't going to wear them. The most action they are going to get is being slept in. If they are lucky.

Meanwhile they take up room in your drawers making it hard to find the shirts you DO want to wear.

What's the solution?

Turn them into a rug!

It's super easy. First you have to turn the t-shirts into yarn. Here is a really easy tutorial for how to do that. The tutorial is for plastic bags but the concept is the same. Basically you cut strips from the bottom of the t-shirt and arms so that you have a pile of loops. Then you connect the loops like in the video and voila!

T-shirt yarn.

Then all you have to do is crochet it into a rug.

That's my rug at the top. The colours probably aren't ones I necessarily would have chosen but it was what I had on hand. Plus I was able to repurpose my most favourite but worn out plaid pajama pants (sexy!).

I used an 8.0mm hook, made a foundation chain of 30, and did 15 rows of single crochet. The end result is a small rug 3' x 1.5'.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Meet the Ice Pet

Is this not the most gorgeous piece of retro awesomeness you have ever seen?

First of all... the colours? Perfect.

Second of all, its an appliance whose sole purpose is to shave ice. Ah shaved ice.

Third - it doesn't require any electricity to run.

Fourth - I got it for $3.99 at the Salvation Army. (so I don't have to count it in my total spending for the month in the consumer goods category of the Riot for Austerity)

Hubby and I gave the ice pet a test drive last night (is it me or does that sound rude? ;-)). The pet comes with 3 cylindrical containers to make the ice that you transfer to the pet (in the space you see between the hand crank and the blade). It worked perfectly! We made a grown up take on a snow cone and instead of flavoured syrup, we used the sweet, delicious damson plum vodka that I made last summer. Even though the weather wasn't perfect (the weather in ottawa lately has me wishing for long johns and hot tea as opposed to iced drinks), that was one great drink.

I can't wait for our niece and nephew to come over next so I can make them snow cones. Non alcoholic ones of course. Suggestions for delicious natural kid friendly snow cone toppings?

And for further retro awesomeness, check out the instruction manual....