Monthly Archives: January 2012

Recycling Day – Etsy Repurpose Round Up

Today is recycling day and I want to share with you some awesome shops on Etsy who reuse and recycle items to make incredibly beautiful things. Here is my top 10:

Check out this awesome coat made from recycled german postal bags. Amazing detail, it even has a hood.

These fish brooches are incredible. I love how animated they look, like they are actually swimming.

Pretty much in love with this stunning red colander light fixture.

 Gorgeous cuffs made from repurposed jewelry bits. Love the soft pinks and opals in this set.

 

This tunic looks incredibly cozy and comfy. Ahhh, I’d love to spend a whole day lounging in this. 

This is a pretty rock n’ rock kind of jacket. I’d love to rock it at the super market, just cause I hate the super market and maybe this would make it more fun. (:

 So in love with this refashioned Hmong Hill tribe textile purse. It look the perfect size for all of the stuff I love to lug around with me.

I am totally diggin this glorious map lamp shade and could really use one for my spare room to illuminate my world.

Um so this up-cycled feathered cowl shirt is just stunning. If I had one I think I’d wear it everyday if I could get away with it.

This locker bench with storage is pretty much the bees knees. It would be fantastic in an entry way for taking off snowy salty winter boots and hiding them away.

I hope you love these as much as I do. I encourage you to go and peruse these shops and other etsy sellers. Come back and let me know what other recycled, repurposed, re-used goodies you find and share in the comments below.

Happy Tuesday!

Vegan cranberry sugar cookies

Last night the hubs and I got a cookie craving only to find we didn’t have any eggs, and hardly any butter. We of course did not accept defeat, we researched. After hours of searching the world wide web, actually it was only five minutes, I found a recipe on the yahoo forums that made the grade. So how can you have a cookie without eggs or butter? It’s simple really, oil, baking powder and lots of sugar.

What you will need:
  • 2 cups flour. I used whole hard wheat
  • 2 tbsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, or chinese five spice to taste. I used about a 1/2 spoon of chinese five spice.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract. I like organic Madagascan and still have some left over from when I baked my wedding cake last year (yes, I baked my cake.)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or any other dried fruit.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all of the dry ingredients together including the spices and place them in a mixing bowl. Create a little well in the center for the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together sugar and oil. Add in vanilla and 1/4 cups water and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into the well of the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or with a stand mixer on speed 2 until everything is moist and looks similar to handfuls of wet sand. Ball up dough into 1 inch or so dough balls place in rows on an un-greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes and allow to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes. If you are baking two pans at the same time rotate the pans at the five-minute mark to make sure they bake evenly. Yields about two dozen cookies.

These cookies have a nice crunch, but also have a soft center. They are still tasty the next day. The only down side of these cookies is they are incredibly sweet. If I happen to make them again I will try and reduce the sugar as we nearly fell over in a sugar coma after our cookie feast!

Yesterday’s photo of the day – My cat Nori

Okay so this pic is pretty cheesy, but that kitty is adorable. This is James and I’s fur baby, Nori.

Nori was born in a barn in rural Quebec. James’ Aunt had a stray Momma cat show up and have a litter of kittens in her barn. Nori traveled four hours as a tiny, little, fluff ball to come and live with us over here in Ontario. She’s crazy, slightly wild, but very cuddly and playful. We just love her to death.

Nori is the Japanese name for that lovely yummy black seaweed you often find in miso soup.

Favorite crafty tutorials – January Tutorial Round Up

I want to share some of the amazingly crafty tutorials I have found over the month of January. I hope you find this inspiring and useful! Here’s my top ten:

Click on the image to be directed to the tutorial. Right click to open in a new window.

I am a little addicted to the Free people blog, though too broke to ever buy any of their merchandise. I  do love their tutorials and this 3D wallpaper effect with silk or dried flowers is gorgeous.

This is a great travel pencil pouch from Smallfriendly.com. Easy to make from a lovely piece of felt and it’s a no sew project! Wouldn’t it be great to be prepared to sketch whenever the mood hits you?

More design Please is an amazing blog. I love their tutorials so much. I think it’s fantastic how they combine the process in a single image file. It makes it incredibly easy to share. This fork ring is absolutely too tantalizing to pass up.

I love to sew and clothing reconstruction is one of my favorite ways to liven up my wardrobe. This tutorial is from Long eared Love on blog spot. She shows how to make a copy of the sweatshirt jacket below from an oversized sweat shirt. Cozy!

Skip to my Lou has a ton of tutorials on their site. This tutorial is for an extra-large cosmetic bag. Who doesn’t need one of these? And that fabric is crazy beautiful.

Don’t you just love polymer clay? And aren’t these bracelets stunning? This little tutorial comes from the Delighted Momma Blog. I need to be my sculpy out of storage so I can make some of these one dreary winter afternoon.

Design Sponge, incredible blog. It’s my go to site for inspiration and how tos. I love Moroccan style, it’s so colorful, and comfy. This little DIY is on how to turn mason jars in lovely Moroccan inspired candle holders. I want to make a million of these for my apartment.

This is a fab tutorial is on how to make adorable shoe fringe for your favorite lace ups. It’s found over on The Dainty Squid blog. I love this blog and I stop by to read on a daily basis. Cute style posts, great thrifting finds, yummy recipes, and fun tutorials.

We are always in need of more market bags around here. This tutorial is from Delia Creates Blog. I love how she repurposes t-shirts to make these awesome totes.

 

The hubs and I are wanting to build a couch. We are thinking pallets. This super simple design is from Cuarto De Recha, (this site is in Spanish.) Simply stack the pallets, grab some foam, cover it, and there you have it. The author did say naps on this couch are 5 star! Great storage underneath too.

Happy crafting!

Close Up.

Okay, okay. So maybe my face isn’t as interesting as food, but we gots to mix it up a little. James snapped this pic while we were out attempting to go on an afternoon walk. The melty snow/rain made it a little ridiculous and we ended up turning back pretty soon as we were quickly soaked through and freezing. This is my first attempt at a style post or a what I wore post.

The whole shebang:

The dress and the coat are thrifted. The coat is a gray wool pea coat. The dress looks handmade and there are no tags. I took up the bottom hem and slightly bubbled it to add some character. It has great collar detail, but it was far too cold and wet to remove the coat. Though I did try. The gloves came from the dollar store. My boots are Target circa 2008 I believe. The three scarves are a mix of a lost and found black, an old roommates rainbow scarf, and a lovely red pashmina which was a gift in ’08 from my Aunt. The tights are just a pair of purple tights with nude colored fish-nets over top. My favorite thing to do, style wise. Truly I just love fish-nets and own a billion pairs in a million colors.

It’s now storming and windy outside. Thank goodness we turned back when we did, or we’d be miserable.

Lovely and savory corn chowder

Everybody needs a warm cozy meal now and again, especially when it’s freezing rain and snowing outside. I’ll let you in on how I made it.

You will need:
  • One diced russet potato. If you like them skinned go ahead it’s up to you.
  • One medium yellow onion chopped or diced. Again let preference lead you.
  • Three cups of frozen or fresh corn.
  • Three cups 2% milk.
  • One cup broth or water, with a litt extra for thinning later.
  • Two tbsps veggie, olive oil, or butter. Personally I love butter.
  • Two tbsps flour. I use whole hard wheat, use your preference.
  • Salt and pepper

In a boiler or preferred soup pot sauté your onions on medium high heat with the oil/butter until they start to become glossy and clear.Turn down the heat, so’s not to burn the milk, whisk in your milk and two tbsps of flour. Whisk till they are well incorporated. Then add in your corn and potatoes. Add in one cup of broth/water and save the other cup incase you need more liquid. Turn the heat back up slightly till chowder begins a soft simmer, don’t turn too high as you don’t want to burn the milk. Cover and simmer, checking back often to give it a stir and to make sure the milk isn’t burning or over boiling. You may need to skim the top occasionally. Once it is a nice thick consistency and potatoes are done, use a hand blender or separate a bit of the chowder and purée it with your blender or food processor till you reach desired consistency, whether you like creamy or whole kernels, add that back into the main pot.   I like my mixto be half and half. At the very end I usually add in a little bit of the extra broth to thin it out a bit. Salt and pepper to taste.

Keeps and reheats well. Freezes fantastically.

Another option is to add in chopped bacon, carrots, and celery while sautéing the onions. Really what ever you have available can and should go in this cozy chowder. Add in ham chunks, left over turkey, or chicken if you are a meat eater like my hubs. Also adding in a spoonful of brown sugar adds a lovely little sweet kick that pairs with the savory well. Don’t forget a lovely piece of homemade bread as this chowder is excellent for dipping.

Also if you are new to the blog check out first my entry on why I created this blog.    <<I will have a hand made life>>

A photo a day challenge.

To help me become an awesome blogger I am starting the 365 Photo a day Challenge through 365project. Which challenges you to take at least one photograph a day and post it. What a great way to get things started, to get into good habits, and to share.

Pictured at the top are two gorgeously tasty loaves of bread I made today. They are made from 100% whole hard wheat, with golden raisin, medjool dates, and dried figs and lovely sunflowers seeds on top.

I am on a real fruit kick with my breads lately and James and I are eating it like crazy people. I added some chinese five spice, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough and reduced the sugar to only the 1 tbsp of brown sugar I fed the yeast, plus a half tbsp more into the mix. That’s for the two loaves of course which I mixed at the same time in my handy-dandy Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. I don’t know how I lived without it. I do a lot of baking, but I also use it for a ton of other things when I am being lazy.

Here are some of the ways I use my stand mixer beside traditional baking:

  • I use it to whisk eggs and milk for Sunday morning omelets with my whisk attachment. I then slowly add in the chopped veggies so it’s no mess.
  • I use the batter attachment to break up toasted bread into bread crumbs (I cut them into cubes first.) This also works with gram crackers to make pie crusts!
  • When I want to make hot chocolate from scratch I heat up my chocolate bars in my double boiler and add it to the warmed milk into the bowl of my mixer. I use the whisk attachment to really mix everything. After it’s had a good whisk, I give it a bit more heat and it’s done.
  • I use the batter attachment to shred up chicken breast to make chicken salad or casseroles for James and other meat eaters. You could probably do the same for pork, but James is only a bacon kind of guy and can live without the rest of the pig.

And voilà! My photo for the day.

Also if you are new to the blog check out first my entry on why I created this blog.    <<I will have a hand made life>>

My lunch today.

So today this blog, Clair Cooks conveniently fell into my lap just around lunch time. After seeing her post today I had to make this spicy lemon garlic shrimp and grits. Everybody and their brother knows I love me some lemon garlic shrimp. Put it over some cheesy grits and I have died and gone to heaven. I make my grits from corse ground corn meal. Which is the only way to make grits. Instant grits are lying to you. It does take over an hour to get that perfect creamy consistency, but it’s well worth the wait let me tell you.

I love me some grits and for some odd reason I have only made them once since I left Georgia. In fact I never cook grits when I am not in Georgia. Which means I have spent a good 3 three years not eating grits except when I visit my parents. tsk tsk. I have to add this to my regular menu. I usually eat my garlic lemon shrimp over lime rice or chow mein, but boy cheesy grits are so much more savory and filling. I really don’t know why I never thought to do this at home. I love etouffe and grits. This gets me half way to the bayou. I am a Cajun at heart.

Some cute head pieces I made

These are two head pieces I made out of up-cycled necklaces. I have played around a lot with beading and chains for my new Etsy shop items for spring and I really just love the versatility and the glamour.This is just a sneak peek. All the others are top secret until March 1st.

I have never created anything this fancy, but I really enjoyed crafting these pieces and can’t wait to get the photos done and up in the shop. I should find a classy event to wear on of these bad boys to. Psshh the laundry mat is good enough for me. (:

Where would you wear one?

Getting ready for Spring

Last week J and I signed up for a community garden waiting list for the Spring. We were able to get a half plot in a garden that is just over a half a mile away.

Ever since we heard we were getting a plot, I have been contemplating how to get the most bang for our buck, or rather the most yield from our soil. The space is a five by five and in doing a little research I found a layout I like for optimizing space and that we could base our plans from.

Hands down this one pictured here is the winner from Boylife.org, as I have some experience with a form of that twine trellising last summer when I worked/volunteered on CSA out on Howe Island.

A CSA, for those of you who might not know already, stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

They are usually a subscription based, co-op or small operation farm were community members buy shares each season.

A share usually consists of a delivery once a week with a variety of yummy produce and sometimes eggs, cheeses, soaps and other homemade goodies, depending on how big the co-op is. The co-op usually runs until October or November depending on the zone.

One usually invests a lump sum up front, although some CSAs allow you to simply pay a deposit and then pay monthly. The cost varies, but one can expect to pay about five to eight hundred-dollars depending on the size of your share, whether it’s a single or a double.

Out at Root Radical, the CSA I volunteered with, Emily, the owner, had a green house full of cucumbers and tomatoes that were hung from the bars of the ceiling with twine.

Each week as the plant grows you adjust the twine by tightening it from the top or by simply sliding and re-clipping the plant higher up so it doesn’t puddle on the floor.

By using this method she was able to grow hundreds of plants in a small space. They were all very healthy and produced a ton of fruit. This method, paired with weekly pruning, promotes air circulation and there for higher production naturally.

Our plot would be one square foot larger than the one in the diagram to the left. Which means we can grow some extra tomato plants as J isn’t very fond of green beans and well we’d probably get plenty of them in our CSA share. We’d then add a few plots of basil as we love to make basil pesto. It is another item we like to add to our food stores for the winter. We will probably add in extra onions and exchange the beets for turnips. Yum!

When I look at this diagram I get excited about the possibilities of fresh salsa, salads, veggie casseroles, and decadent summer pastas smothered in greens. I have already started collecting my seeds. I also plan on visiting The Sisters of Providence, a local convent that specializes in seed saving and maintaining local heirloom vegetable and fruit lineages. Only their workshops and educational walks don’t start till February.

I can’t believe how quickly it’s all beginning.