30 January 2011


We are big granola fans around here. I always make the same type, a recipe I adapted from one my mother in law gave me years ago. So when Soulemama gave hers on her blog in December I thought it might be time for a change. So we tried it. And it was pretty good. But mostly it made us realize how good our usual granola is and how we didn't want a change after all. So I thought I ought to post my recipe. I've posted it as a double recipe because it keeps so well, why wouldn't you make double.


7 cups oats (old fashioned or quick oats, both work fine)

1 ½ cups walnuts, preferably chopped

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup oil, I use sunflower

¾ cup maple syrup

2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, my favourite is a mix of sultanas and dried apples

Preheat oven to 325 F

Mix all the ingredients together except for the fruit (I find mixing wet and dry separately unnecessary in this recipe)

Spread out onto jelly roll pans

Put one pan on middle shelf and one on shelf below

Bake for 8 minutes, switch the pans so that the other pan is on the lower shelf and then bake for another 8 minutes (until dry and a bit golden).

Add the fruit. Will store for weeks.

28 January 2011


I am on a bit of a mission recently to add some colour to my living space. It is just a bit too beige. And I am inspired by the beautiful photos of the beautiful colourful living space on this blog, Attic 24.

I finished up this cushion this morning. It is not super colourful but a step in the right direction. We are talking baby steps here, I am just getting over a serious love affair with beige!
After making my first cushion, I am hooked. It's such an easy way to try out new things. And then a cushion can always get used, well put on display on my couch at least, usually thrown on the floor when we actually want to sit there. But they're a perfect way for me to try out patchwork. I have an idea for one more cushion too then I should be done, at least for a while.

Attic 24 has also inspired me to learn crochet but after giving it a try last night I think I have to put it on hold until I can get someone to help me figure out why my crochet looks like knitting!

I never would have guessed I'd be house proud but I totally am. I sometimes look round my home and think what a great decorator I am. I have more plans in the works for brightening up my living space but after an unsuccessful trip to the fabric store last night, they are on hold probably until we can make a trip to Ikea - they seem to have a good selection and very good prices. I have plans to recover our dining room chairs (has needed doing since we got them) and make curtains for the dining room (the current ones are too big and obscure half the window even when open) and recover a cardboard lampshade. The most colourful things in here right now are Henry's toys and I like how they brighten up the place. We got the giraffe stickers from Dollarama and I love them.

26 January 2011

Sarubobo plush: a little added whimsy and good luck

This morning I made a toy for myself. Adding to Henry's toy collection at this point just means adding more objects to be thrown on the floor all over the house so it was my turn. I came across this tutorial on one of my favourite blogs, mairuru a while ago and finally got around to making it this morning while the rest of the family slept.

I googled sarubobo, it means baby monkey in Japanese. And these little dolls are a traditional Japanese thing with all sorts of good luck type meanings.

I had imagined I'd make loads of these little monkey babies and turn my house into a sarubobo playground of sorts, hanging colourful versions in all of the nooks and crannies. But even though the project came together super fast, under an hour from picking fabric to hanging in the window, I don't think I'll be making more anytime soon. It was fast but just too fiddly for me. I would like to make more, maybe I will summon the patience to make some more sometime later, give this guy some friends.

And here is a picture of my other little monkey baby. This is where he had his evening nap yesterday evening. Lucky him to have such a patient father, or at least one who doesn't mind playing video games with a baby on his chest every once in a while.

Shared here:

25 January 2011

Healthy Toddler Seed Cookies

At 11 months Henry seems to think nursing is much too boring for him, at least during the day. As a result, he eats quite a bit of solid food and I am at the point where I have to think about his nutrition - oh no! At least he is not as picky as he was a month ago, he likes a lot of things but it is still sometimes hard to get him eating a significant quantity of something that is not fruit or grains. And he really likes to feed himself so even though he always likes my soy yogurt, sometimes he just refuses to be fed from a spoon. And he loves hummus but that involves either feeding from a spoon or letting him get super disgustingly messy feeding it to himself which is the route I usually go.

So I came up with this recipe for some cookies full of seeds for all their healthy protein-y calcium-y goodness.

1/2 cup sesame seeds (find unhulled for maximum calcium)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp each cinnamon and ground ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup oil
2 TBSP blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup apple sauce

Grind the seeds and oats in a dry blender or food processor. Mix with remaining dry ingredients. Then add in the wet ones and mix. Spoon out onto oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until set and just a little brown on the bottom.

They turned out well. They taste ok to me, not something I would make for myself but Henry definitely liked them. They are a bit crumbly but I don't think I can avoid that without sacrificing the high seed to flour ratio.

I think the only changes I would make are to use ground up oats in place of all the flour, just because he eats plenty of wheat already, probably good to get a different grain. And I might use even more seeds even though that will probably make it even crumblier, maybe just more flax since flax seeds actually hold stuff together (make a great egg substitute) but I've wrecked muffins in the past with too much flax taste. And I think I will spring for coconut oil since it seems I am always reading that is the only healthy oil for cooking (sorry I couldn't find a more credible looking source but I know I have read it in credible sources too). Even though I try not to be cheap about food since it is such a huge part of life (between eating and cooking and how it affects your health) I usually think coconut oil is too expensive. But since these are for my little angel baby, I think I ought to buy some. I might be posting a version 2 sometime soon.

Here are some more photos of Henry enjoying his cookies ( I gave him 3 and he gobbled them up).

24 January 2011

Working on Walking

Here it is, the first picture of my little baby standing on his own. Blurry, I know. But it's an important picture. Just since Sunday night Henry has been really enjoying standing on his own. Still for no more than 10 seconds at a time but he is doing it. He'll let go of his toy or the table and do it on his own and sometimes he'll let us help him by holding him up and then letting go. He'll occasionally take a step too. And he seems to be quite pleased with himself about the whole thing.

He is also doing lots of this. Letting go and then slowly bending his knees and banging down onto his bum.

And another grown up thing, he is also letting me read to him more. You can tell from all my recent blog posts that Henry hasn't been taking up too much of my time. He has been so independent and hasn't really wanted me playing with him. During the day he did his thing and I did mine. I was even feeling a bit negligent. But now it seems he is getting just a little bit interested in books and will hold still and let me read to him.

But only sometimes!

Tie Dye

Since I am into everything crafty at the moment I did a bit of tie dyeing last week. Did some pants for Henry and a T-shirt for me. There was also a sweater that I just wanted to change from speckley brown and white to purple but it turned out hideous and splotchy.

I love Henry's pants. They are his second pair of purple pants, and they're even zanier than the first pair where each leg was a different shade of purple.

23 January 2011


I have managed to foil Henry's plans to pull down the kitchen towels all day every day. He started doing this about a week ago. So I took some time to sew loops and buttons to some of my favourite kitchen towels. I just added them in the corner and hang them like normal.

While I was at it I also made a couple towels like the one on the right in the picture below. I had bought this awesome towel fabric from the thrift store a while ago and couldn't decide what to do with it. The obvious answer: make towels. I guess I didn't think of it right away because sewing towels is a bit boring. But this way I get to see the lovely print all the time. And I still have a little left if I suddenly have a better idea.

Now after an attack the towels look just a bit dishevelled instead of thrown on the floor in a mess.

And Henry can crawl off to play somewhere else like nothing has happened.

22 January 2011

Short Sleeved Cardi

I saw someone the other day wearing a short sleeved sweater over a long sleeved T-shirt and I thought it looked cool. So when I came across this old sweater that I had cut the sleeves off for Henry's pants, I thought I could make my own. I have also been looking at lots of sewing blogs recently so I was full of confidence and inspiration.

I really like how it turned out. I always loved the pattern and colours of this sweater but never the fit, it was short and wide. So while I was turning it short sleeved I also took in the sides a lot. I used the bit I cut from the side seam to bind off the arm holes, I managed to eek out just enough fabric and then force my sewing machine to sew through the layers of thick fabric.

I think I will wear it this winter and summer - perfect!

21 January 2011

Waste Not Want Not

Kevin and I started some parsnip wine the other night. It used 5 lbs of parsnips for one gallon! And barely used them. I thought we'd end up with a sloppy mess of parsnip mush that would go straight into the compost. But the recipe said boil until tender but not mushy and then remove the parsnips. So they were still very edible. ...So now we are up to our eyeballs in parsnip soup. Luckily we had a dinner guest last night to help us get through some. We have some more to eat this lunchtime but the rest has gone into the freezer. I am glad we were able to get maximum use of those parsnips.

The soup tasted really good. Very rich which is why it's usually served as a starter (but that's no way to get through it). I used this recipe as a guide and replaced the heavy cream with raw cashew cream a la Dana Shortt like I did here.

In other brewery news, we also started some wine made from Welch's grape juice, recipe here. And we are attempting to start some black currant wine using Ribena but the yeast just won't get started. We have also had a chance to taste mostly everything from our cellar. Everything has been very good. The clove wine was a hit over Christmas, a great liqueur type drink that I think should be a Christmas tradition. The pineapple wine was pretty good, quite pineapple-y and quite dry. Might make it again someday. And the dandelion wine was finally ready over Christmas and it was delicious, should definitely make that every Spring.

And here's a picture of the little piglet gobbling up his own little bowl of popcorn last night. He was so into eating it he didn't even flip the bowl over right away.


I found myself on the internet. Check out this link to an article on green crafts.
Pretty cool I think.

20 January 2011

Kevin and Amy do freezer paper stencilling

Kevin and I had a go at freezer paper stencilling on the weekend. There are tutorials all over the internet, I like this one.

I used this dino ride picture from a paper cutting blog that I came across a while ago. I love this silhouette and feel like I want to put it everywhere!

And Kevin used a T rex picture that we found by using google images.

19 January 2011

A Cushion

I really liked this cushion pattern in my new book, Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings. So I decided to give it a try. This is my most complex patchwork yet, still pretty simple I know. It was fun, I got to use fabrics I had and got to feel like a real artist choosing the colour combinations.

I like how it turned out. Not sure I will keep it in the living room, it looks a bit bedroom-y to me. Or at least it doesn't quite seem suited to our living room. Maybe because a bunch of the fabric was from bedsheets?

Henry is really into pulling this funny face the past few days. These pictures are the best I could get to show it. It's always a bit different but always involves squinty eyes. And it doesn't mean he's happy but he's not usually too upset when he does it, despite how he looks. I think he is just experimenting, and this is a funny experiment.

I am entering my pillow into this pillow party:

Blogger's Pillow Party