31 March 2011

A High Chair for Nana's house

When my mum was visiting last time we went out to buy a high chair to keep at her house, one less thing for us to pack into the car. We found this nice wooden one at a thrift store for $2! It was in good condition. But I did decide to give it a new coat of paint just because Henry would be eating off it.
And I made a little cushion for it too. Just a rectangle with some ties made out of Kevin's worn out boxer shorts. Because my little prince is used to sitting on a cushioned high chair.

Thanks to a certain person that left a certain comment that just about made my day I will try to be a little less vague in how I made it.

First off I measured the height of the back of the chair, the depth of the seat of the chair, and the width of the whole thing at the skinniest part.

Then the length of fabric to cut is equal to
height of back of chair PLUS depth of seat PLUS about 2 inches for seam allowance and poof of cushioning

And the width of fabric is width plus about 2 inches.

Then I cut some ric rac I had into eight 8-inch lengths. I stuck 2 into the seam allowance at each of the top corners and 2 on each side right about where the cushion would fold in the chair. By stuck into the seam allowance I mean like how the ribbons are added here.

Then I sewed up the rectangle like normal (right sides together, left a 6 inch gap for turning and stuffing) and turned. Then I stuffed it loosely, I had some slightly denser stuffing from an old cushion that seemed to work well.

Then to stop the stuffing from all falling to the bottom I forced the whole cushion, stuffing and all through the sewing machine to make 4 horizontal lines of stitching through the cushion. I don't have a fancy sewing machine or anything, I just forced it through.

It doesn't matter exactly where the lines are and it is a thin cushion so it's not important whether or not there is a stitched line where it has to fold if you know what I mean. I left the gap open till the end so I could arrange the stuffing as I went. Then lastly I closed up that gap and it was done.

I think if I had rounded the corners a bit it might look more professional. And if I had done some kind of nice pattern of top stitching instead of the horizontal lines but that might have been too tricky for me.

I hope that's the right amount of information on how I made it. It's so easy to be too vague and also easy to give too much obvious information but hard I think to get it just right.

Henry tested it out today and he seemed to like it.

30 March 2011

Italian Lentils and Polenta

We tried out a new meal yesterday that was all my idea. I saw polenta for sale at the supermarket and thought I'd give it a try. I have tried making my own polenta from corn meal years ago but it ended up in a big mess so I liked the idea of buying the premade stuff. However this stuff was really salty - not just too salty for my health kind of thing but too salty for my taste so I will have to have another go at making it myself next time.

I sliced and broiled the polenta and served it with italian lentils. I couldn't find any recipe online for italian lentils that had less than 4 pounds of sausage and lots of bacon. So I came up with my own recipe and I felt quite creative and chef-like while I was doing it. But really it is just a typical lentil soup recipe without the broth. Here is the recipe anyway, we really liked it.

Italian Lentils

olive oil
2 med. onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
3 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups dry lentils
16 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 veg stock cube
4+ cups water

Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add carrots and herbs and saute another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until lentils have softened and there is barely any liquid. Makes loads.

Serve with grilled polenta. I think it would also be good with barley or rice or quinoa.

And this is what Henry has been up to today. Getting very adventurous at the park and very dirty!

Slipping on the ice:

Playing with the ice:

Playing with the mud:

26 March 2011

A Trip to Paris

We had the best day out today. We took a drive to Paris, Ontario and also made some stops at Brantford and Cambridge.

First off, the drive from Waterloo to Paris was lovely - the nicest drive I've ever done in Ontario I think. It was all along the Grand river with views of the river down through the bare trees. On the way we had to stop and get out to take pictures when we saw these 4 vultures hanging out on some crates. At first all four were spreading their wings but I didn't manage to capture that.

Paris is a really nice small town about 45 minutes from us right at the intersection of 2 rivers. We walked all around the small town and looked around the shops including a couple of thrift shops.

We got to see an example of this rare building style that uses field stones.

We had a nice pub lunch. Henry was a little angel in the pub. He tasted some fries but lost interest in them as soon as I pulled his current favourite food out of my bag - orange.

Brantford didn't have much for us to look at. It did have an LCBO well stocked in beer for Kevin. In Cambridge we also stopped off at the Grand River Brewing Company store to pick up even more beer. And Henry got to stretch his legs a bit.

When we got home Henry practiced walking around in his rainboots that we bought him today, Kevin looked up his new beers on RateBeer, and there was still time for some playing.

25 March 2011

Heather Ross' Summer blouse variation 2

The summer blouse pattern took a bit of tweaking to get it to fit me just right but now I've done that there's so many possibilities for simple woven tops - I can't stop. This one I made from a men's large shirt that had this awesome boat and dolphin pattern on it. I cut the front in two so that the top bit has buttons and the bottom doesn't (reusing the button part from the original shirt).

And to test whether I can wear it all year - it looks cool with a cardi. These pictures remind me why short hair is not for me - it needs cutting again already!

And Henry's new thing is his shape sorting toy. He's getting it. Right now it is mostly trial and error but he gets it in a lot of the time. And he LOVES when you clap for him after he gets it in.

23 March 2011

Kevin's 27th Birthday

We celebrated Kevin's 27th birthday yesterday. We had a nice day. I cooked him a very special dinner of duck confit (from our local fancy grocery store), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, glazed dijon carrots, and a warm portobello mushroom salad.

We just relaxed for the rest of the evening, took Henry out for a walk and watched a movie.

And I did get his music room all ready in time for his birthday. We were lucky enough to be given a nice desk for the room from Kevin's aunt and uncle, very lucky since I had been planning on buying him one as part of his birthday present.

So all I had to do was rearrange the furniture we already had down there and make and put up the shelves of course.

These shelves go all around the room with just 2 breaks at the window and the door. They hold Kevin's beer bottle collection which he started less than 2 years ago and is currently at around 150 bottles. Of course he has now tried just about everything presently available for sale in Ontario so the collection's rate of growth is slowing.

I tried to make the shelves very simply and cheaply while still looking good. So I cut 2x4s to length, rounded the edges where they meet the door and window using the jig saw, painted them white, and mounted them by screwing small corner brackets (which I also painted white) to the studs. I used the same method as here.

And there is room for the collection to grow (though Kevin has already been talking about a second row!).

The Trendy Treehouse

21 March 2011

Happy Spring

We are enjoying the beginning of Spring over here.

18 March 2011

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

I made some hot cross buns the other day. They had previously been one of the few things I bought eggs for but this year I had to practice making an egg-free version as my strictly vegan sister will be visiting at Easter time. I just wasn't sure about subbing egg in yeast baking but from this experience it is just as easy as baking powder baking.

I used this recipe from Delia Smith, a very easy recipe that has turned out delicious every time I've made it. And it doesn't have too much kneading either. This time I subbed oil for the butter (those silly weight measurements that the British use tend to work out even better than volume measurements for subbing oil for butter) and subbed 2 TBSP soy yogurt for the egg. They turned out delicious, tasted just like last year's egg version.

And Henry is still walking all over the place, enjoying his new freedom. And I am still taking a million pictures every time because there's nothing cuter than a little baby walking all around town.

15 March 2011

A Walk in the Park

My mum and I took Henry to Victoria Park in Kitchener this afternoon. He had a nice sleep in the stroller and woke up just in time to have a little walk around. He had trouble walking in his big boots at first but quickly figured it out and became very confident and adventurous.

And when we got home he had a little walk down the street.