Christmas DIY Card Tree

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE.

Here’s a quick craft I’m not sure where I say it first but it came to me as I was decorating the kitchen for xmas. I used approx 8 tacs and some green sparkly stretchy cord to fashion an xmas tree shape on the wall. Then as the cards came in, I filled it. We sent out cards this year with pride. Next year ( with a newborn may be a different story. Post Xmas, i used the sewing pinking sheers and a hole punch to create gift tags for next year. Yeah, upcycle, recycle. I also only bought one roll of paper and a thrift store bag of bows. All my ribbon was from years past.

There is still so much waste at xmas, it was the least I could do.

What did you craft this xmas?

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Turtles Cupcakes!

Today I made some Nestle turtle chocolate cupcakes. Basically, you bake chocolate cupcakes half way then place a turtle chocolate on them, with more cupcake mixture, and put it back in for another 10 minutes. The recipe is below. If you look at the photo  you can see that I left them in a little too long (we have a brand spankin’ new oven and all appliances.. thanks daddsy! ~and even though i put it on 15 degrees less than the recipe said- it cooked very quickly). So the photo at bottom is the halfway point. They were naughty and decent, not incredible. Husband review? “they would have been better heated up so they’d be gooey. (recipe actually says to do that) But they were cupcakes with turtles in them.. c’mooon!” IMG_3998

 

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click here for the Nestle Turtles Cupcakes recipe!

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My Cat From Hell

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We have watched a couple of episodes of this show on Animal Planet, lately. click here for tv show info. We are now thinking our cats are pretty awesome! Lol. Our grey cat Salal is at optimal health once again (see previous posts of vet / home made medicine recipes), and getting into everything! Awesome! I forgot how he loves to eat wrapping ribbon. Those festive barfs sure keep us on our toes.
Here’s holiday greetings from our frisky friends to you, my favourite blog following friends!
Warm hugs and all the Kongs & ocean swims in the universe, to our late best dog friend Amos. I miss you & put a photo of you on our tree, this year. Xo.

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Sexual Relations and Smoked Salmon

 

IMG_3748I love this cartoon, thought I’d share.

We spent the weekend xmas tree decorating, xmas card writing, wrapping and mailing packages for family and friends who live away, lighting up our yard etc.. very fun this year in our new house! Next year will be even more exciting and different with a newborn’s xmas! This week I also spent time decorating other parts of the house with swag. Messy and fun to be creating again ! This weekend and next week’s goals for me? The NURSERY and start some fun xmas baking. If you look back at last year’s xmas blog entries, we did a lot of firsts for baking. I’m thinking of redoing … mint and choc beaver damns and pine nut and smoked salmon tarts! For starters.

WHAT ARE YOU BAKING / CRAFTING FOR THE HOLIDAYS?

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Just beet it… October!

It has been a crazy busy where did this month go – October. For you as well? And what did I make to show for it? almost nothing.

THEN we went to COOMBS Goats on a Roof Country market and I got a 20 lb bag of beets. What more can a girl ask for?

After the lovely Nova Scotian Kate left from her awesome visit here.. I pickled beets last weekend! It was our first weekend alone as a couple in our new home and it seemed like just the right nesting thing to do. Below is a slideshow of the process. If you want the recipe, comment below.

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Who is Peeing on the Carpet?

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Today is my first day alone in our new house! I’d say we are roughly 3/4 unpacked with several systems to set up yet. One of those is the cats.
Until our beautiful dog Amos passed in May, I almost didn’t realize we had 2 cats. They seemed to accessorize him. Now they get a lot more attention, as you can imagine. I know cats don’t adjust to moves very well, so we locked them in the spare bathroom with all their gear & needs during the move and the following couple days. Now that they are free, they are needy (& kneading my baby belly every chance I sit / lay still).
We have carpet. From an esthetics and germ perspective I despise carpet like I despise window treatments. It’s expensive ish berber & isn’t in the reno budget to rip out, this year. The stairwells have in the last three days become a stink bomb of either cat spray or pee!!! Uggg! Nothing worse than cat pee smell! Nothing. I have yet to catch anyone in the act (goddess help them if I do) as they do it after we leave for work. We’ve emptied a box of baking soda cat litter deo all over already. Any suggestions folks? Other than driving the kitties to “the farm”?
Happy times*! I’m hoping to unpack / find my craft supplies and set up a table today! Stay tuned.
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Dear Teacher: What I Did This Summer…

The ultimate do it yourself (DIY… but with my handsome husband)!

We made a baby. We will be brewing / perfecting it til March 2013!

My sweety already gave me some great creative sewing and crafts for babies books, at xmas.

stay tuned.

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38 inspiring objects
# 12 our baby!

Thus the much less frequent blogging here and on my Daily Dose of Vinyl record blog all summer.

I essentially slept all summer!~ justfortherecords BLOG click here
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We bought a HOUSE!

38 Inspiring Objects #11     our HOUSE!

I know, so exciting right? I keep hearing the price is right announcer bellowing out “Corey & Jen… you have  bought a house! C’moon down!” lol. With much love and support from family OXOXOX we will be moving into our first house together as a family, on September 15th! It’s in Courtenay BC, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Otherwise known as “the big island”. We are stoked. I’ve already been taking paint swatches to bed and planning the move. But where will the craft room go? So that’s been keeping us pretty busy this summer. winks*

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Homemade Blackberry Fruit Roll Ups !

“Are you gunna make fruit roll ups today”? Nope, that is not a four year old. That was my husband bugging me for the last few days. So yes. Today I took my first shot at home made blackberry fruit roll ups, in our new dehydrator (see bottom).

And here’s how we did it.
1. Pick a big freezer bag size of local blackberries from all your neighbour’s bushes. Prime time= end of August.
2. Clean and dry.


3. Make an apple sauce in blender just in case whatever kind of berry you choose needs thickening. Use the fruit bowl apples you hoped said husband would take for lunches but never does.


4. Put bag of blackberries in blender on low til they produce a somewhat thick syrup. Use juice if needed to get the blender goin’. Yum.


5. Mix apple w blackberries.


6. Pam spray roll up flat inserts. We did three.


7. Pour mixture on evenly. Lick spatula.


8. Turn dehydrator on to 130-140 degrees for 4-8 hrs.


9. Take out when leathery dry.
10. Cut to size. Roll. Store individually in seran and store in a Ziploc in freezer. They come out looking like photo #7.

38 Inspiring Objects

#10  the New Lee Valley Dehydrator.

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Our Day in Local Produce

Although we can’t wait to move off this overpriced tourist destination of an island, I have to say in the summer there is something to be said for leading a lifestyle based on the 100 mile diet ~ if you can. Yesterday Corey forced me off the couch to go blackberry picking, again. It’s an annual tradition with us, one that we swore we’d take more seriously this season. It’s a dangerous but yummy sport. Full chain metal clothing required. Three afternoons have been spent so far with a few more to go. What are we using them for? Our morning smoothies, beer & wine making, fruit roll ups, desserts.. you name it. I’m considering writing a therapy article entitled something like “The Couple that Picks Berries Together, Stays Together“. What do you think?

After berry picking we head to Fox road to our favourite EGG guy. I also buy handmade croched face and kitchen cloths from his daughter. Both items are found with an honour system for cash trade in this adorable fridge at the end of their farm driveway. The cat in the egg photo is a curious Salal (our cat).

   

As we drove back down the road we spot this… (dad will surely comment on the budweiser flat)

Further around the corner we see two red coolers with a “VEGGIES” sign. We stop and again on the honour system purchase these yellow beans and 6 hot peppers. What a hoot. Total spent for local produce in one afternoon? $6.50.Now I’d love to be one of those righteous “organic” (said with nose in the air) people that we are about to surround ourselves with on our next move in two weeks.. SEE BLOG TOMORROW ! but the truth is ~ from there we went and purchased a $30 pizza. Yes, that’s what I said. A $30 pizza at the only place on the island to get take out pizza. lol. And it was good. We finished our pizza and bottled a pinot grigio wine, in our rental bathroom for the last time. Quadra Island your days are numbered.

Zuke’s  and beans for dinner tonight, my creative blogger friends. Do you shop locally? Organically? I will be harvesting the garden & plum, apple trees and dehydrating herbs ~basil, mint and cat mint and cherry and roma tomatoes from the topsy turvy experiment in the next 2 weeks so stay tuned… And thanxs for staying with me.  xo. 

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Related articles

It looks & smells an awful lot like marijuana but it isn’t…

 But it’s got the same effect on the cats. Cat Mint! Also known as cat nip in it’s dried form. The plant started out teensy and died in the house because they wouldn’t leave it alone. Outside, in the ground after 2 months ~it’s spreading! I’ve been pinching of the flowering tops so it bushes out more. Is that the right thing to do. Can a gardner comment and tell me?

I’m assuming the flowers seed and spread the plant but I won’t be here next garden season and want the plant to get as huge as possible so I can dehydrate it this winter! Lemme know please !

The cats love it!

What are you growing for your pets this summer season?

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Please don’t call me “strawberry shortcake” (just cuz I have red hair)

So the topsy turvy experiment (see previous spring posts) is in full BLOOM now! These things are amazing ~ idiot proof. Also- I just saw the containers for $20 each at Zellers.. and I got them for $2 each at liquidation world. Yeah me. And yeah sun! We have been enjoying a super red tasty treat of strawberries, now and then – no huge crop at once yet. I’ve rotated them monthly and water them nightly. Easy peasey. The bottom shot is the cherry tomatoe plant that is covered in little green gems. The regular tomatoe plant is maybe a week behind and twice the size. Can’t wait to have more tomatoes than we know what to do with!

Speaking of which… I treated myself to the deluxe Lee Valley Dehydrator ! I know, right? I even ordered the extra trays and the extra flat roll sheet for making your own dried fruit roll ups! Also exciting news n the growing front.. we have a pear tree. I thought it was plums because they had bums a few weeks ago. Stay tuned for pear stuff end of September! 

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today is the best day of my life

 

…And it started with getting my legs waxed. Go figure!

Life is pretty busy this week ~working 13 hours today ~ so here’s a quicky post. I love this image.
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Berry Picking is a Labour of Love *or* What to Do with a Kajillion Huckleberries?

It’s that time of the year again. So much fun to wander around the yard in barely any clothes and pick your dessert… or pick your smoothie ingredients for the next day… or? What do you do with huckleberries?

We’ve never lived where there are so many bushes of them, so we thought we’d give it a go this year. My Love bought an actual Berry Scoop from Lee Valley, when we there earlier in the month. It’s pretty amazing. Though, it’s still a labour of love separating greenery and bugs etc from berries and storing them. We just started tonight. My Love had to climb the cherry tree ~ they are ready but super high up! I saw a raven the size of an eagle in that tree today.  Competition is tuff. It’s not even fully salmonberry or blackberry seasons yet. See blog posts this time last year. What we also have on the horizon are three kinds of apple trees and a plum tree. yippee. Missing in these photos? Strawberries ~ we ate them promptly while picking.

the berry scoop !

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone?

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly uses the phrase “the mean reds” to describe her generalised anxiety:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

I’ve been off the blog (& got back logged on my record a day blog) because we’ve been off line ~cruising around this wonderful province. The heat is here and we’ve got to get out while it lasts. Thats was one wet and long winter and spring, heh? Here’s a few snaps I took in Vancouver a couple weekends ago, while out playing. We saw Wimbledon Finals on the huge screen in 3D (thrilling and an new annual event for sure! federer is #1 again. All is well in the world), saw Spider-man in 3D (save your money ~it was medium at best), ate out,  ordered in (until you live remotely you never know how thrilling Thai food delivered to your door at odd hours is), shopped on Robson, slept like a king and queen in my in-laws incredible condo, had a Lee Vally and an Ikea visit (duh) and other fun stuff too. I love Vancouver. And I love my husband. All photos taken on my iphone, most while hanging out the car window. Some are from the Vancouver China Town summer night market. Can you spot my handsome husband in one of these photos?

 

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Japan Tsunami ~Coast of BC Canada Beaqch Cleanup.

I’ve signed up already. Will you!? Please read this article. danke. xo. love your beachcomber ~Fireygoddess.

Volunteers sought for West Coast tsunami debris cleanup

CBC News

Posted: May 11, 2012 2:21 PM PT – click on the triangle to view an informative video.

Ocean debris believed to be from Japan is posed for a photograph on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C.
Ocean debris believed to be from Japan is posed for a photograph on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. (Jonathan Hayward/CP Images)The wave of debris from the Japanese tsunami that is starting to wash up on the West Coast has prompted a call for volunteers to clean up the trash.

The Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Fund are teaming up to recruit volunteers to pick up everything from bottles, to plastics, fishing paraphernalia to appliances, that is expected to wash up on North America’s coastline.   In recent months, some of the first debris that drifted across the Pacific has triggered international interest, including a container with a Harley Davidson motorcycle, some volleyballs that have been traced back to their owners, and even an unmanned fishing vesselthat was sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard.

But residents in Alaska and Haida Gwaii, which used to be known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, have reported that more and more uninteresting trash has also been washing up.

Making a list to be ready

The aquarium’s Jill Dwyer is in charge of a registry of volunteers needed to collect the junk, and she said people can sign up for the cleanup registry at www.shorelinecleanup.ca.

“We don’t really know when the majority of the debris is going to start hitting our shorelines, where it’s going to hit or how much,” Dwyer said Friday.

“What we’re doing is just getting a list of volunteers who would be willing to help when needed and then we’ll connect them with the site co-ordinator or the local people on the ground who would actually be organizing the cleanup.”

Dwyer said ocean debris could be harmful to wildlife if it contains chemicals or if animals ingest items or become entangled in them.

According to some estimates, the March 2011 tsunami washed between 1.5 and 18 million tonnes of debris into the Pacific Ocean.

The recruitment effort is separate from the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which has been happening across Canada every September for the last 19 years. A spring cleanup of shorelines involving students began in B.C. last year and has now started in Ontario.

making my commute to work more creative

All photos taken holding my iphone out the window of my car as I commute from Quadra Island through Campbell River en route to my practice in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

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things that grow down by the bog

There is a huge bog at the back of the property that in the winter looked desolate with no foliage. Now, it has a giant field of these flowers surrounding it. They are chest height with beautiful yellow flowers. And some bug friends. Flag Iris. Iris pseudacorus is a species of iris, native to Europe, western Asia and northwest Africa. Common names include yellow iris and yellow flag. Its specific epithet, meaning “false acorus,” refers to the similarity of its leaves to those of Acorus calamus, as they have a prominently veined mid-rib and sword-like shape. Iris pseudacorus grows best in very wet conditions, and is often common in wetlands, where it tolerates submersion, low pH, and anoxic soils. The plant spreads quickly, by both rhizome and water-dispersed seed. It fills a similarniche to that of Typha and often grows with it, though usually in shallower water. While it is primarily an aquatic plant, the rhizomes can survive prolonged dry conditions.

This is what exploded in a weekend and covered the topsy turvy plants, that we had to move. This a huge gorgous trellis that runs the length of the garden fence. Wisteria! Wisteria (also spelled Wistaria or Wysteria) is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae, that includes ten species of woody climbing vines native to the Eastern United States and to ChinaKorea, and Japan.

This plant is also growing down by the bog. It is currently over our heads. I think it’s an African plant? Each leaf is approx 3-4 feet in diameter. Huge. In the fall we put a giant load of raked maple leaves on it for the winter.  I wonder if we can eat any part of it? Another bog lovin plant! wiki:     Gunnera is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants, some of them gigantic. The genus is the only member of the family Gunneraceae.The 40-50 species vary enormously in leaf size. Gunnera manicata, native to the Serra do Mar mountains of southeastern Brazil, is perhaps the largest species, with leaves typically 1.5-2 m (5-6 ft) wide, but exceptionally long, up to 3.4 m (11 ft), borne on thick, succulent leaf stalks (petioles) up to 2.5 m (8 ft) long. It germinates best in very moist, but not wet, conditions and temperatures of 22 to 29 °C.

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topsy turvy check in

Let’s check in with the topsy turvy planters, shall we? Planted them 2 months ago. Organic soil, peat, super easy to put together and the root systems grow upwards heated by the plastic container. cool. My sweety helped hang them in a different place in teh garden a month ago because the vine they were planted under blew up into a zillion green leaves and flowered into gorgeous dangling delicate purple flowers. Now out tof the shade they are fabulous.

We’ve eaten 2 dozen little plump fully red strawberries so far. The tomatoe plants.. i busted a huge stem off while bragging to said sweety about the progress. That said, they’ve both tripled and are flowering yellow now! Our June on the coast, was the westest / rainiest on record ..so welcome to the hot July growing season! Stay tuned for harvest end of August, I’m guessing? So with zero effort and being super cheap I’m a fan of the upside down garden thingmes. Have you tried the As Seen on TV Topsy Turvy? Did it work for you?

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beachcombing 101

We explored the top west coast of Vancouver Island for Canada Day weekend and it was OUTSTANDING! blogs and photos to come this weekend when i get a chance to process some stuff on here. yippee. I took some great travel shots. ‘Til then, here’s a comic that my sweetheart forwarded yesterday.

Happy almost summer (seriously c’moon sun!)

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Gourmet Pesto Quinoa stuffed chicken breasts!

 oh Julia!
Yet another reason for YouTube~ to learn how to stuff a chicken breast. I had no idea. The above was entertaining & Julia is lovely as always but below is really helpful. Especially about putting the breast in a ziploc before pounding it! Smart. 

And what is the husband and father review? 

not the prettiest after photo, but you get the idea.

Recipe came from this awesome quinoa book.

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adventures of my green thumbs begins.

I’m learning how to garden! I know, exciting right? Living in this glorious retreat ~ and by glorious I mean a whole lotta “free” work on our end while paying someone else’s mortgage… Anywho.. the gardens are spectacular, at last!  I’ve been weeding and cutting flowers for vases for both my therapy offices and for both bathrooms and the kitchen, in the house. Awesome. So I have spent some time photographing the progress and I thought i’d start sharing photos of new finds, researching what they are and anything interesting about them, how to close down stuff as it dies (we had this overwhelming daffodil bed by the front door that I discovered I was supposed to trim after it died off.. leading me to wonder.. do I have to remove the greens from all bulbous plants after they kick it? I dunno). *** see middle photo with the ends of the poppies. Do I dry them out in a paper bag all winter and plant that? or is it just the little dry purple hairs that I plant?*** THIS IS WHERE THE PARTICIPATION FROM YOU BLOG FRIENDS, READING THIS ~ COMES IN! Please comment below or send me a link? danke.*

I just like the colours and smells and the ambiance they bring our summer life now. lol. So I’m learning and thought you might like to witness my learning and contribute  a thing or three for my learning? oui? Let’s begin our adventure of my green thumbs together.

This weeks’ fav flower is the peone. Have you smelt a peone lately? Oh man. This is the flower to put in the bathroom that really makes a difference after the mano f the house does his morning business. And what a great name. Did I even spell it correctly? Also pictured here is my new fav summer drink The Orchard peach Cider. yum. And I managed a craft placement of my fish ice cubes! As well, my arms took a serious beating when I tried to pick the pretty pink roses that have sprouted up everywhere! eek.

More on roses another time, there’s several species here.

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Wes Anderson delivers again

Movie review! We don’t have a theatre on the island where we currently reside. So when we get off island / on mini vaca’s we take in flicks. When in Vancouver recently, we went to the movies two nights in a row. The Avengers in 3D & some forgettable Johnny Depp is a vampire this week ~movie. But tonight!? Tonight we saw a whimsical movie after my own heart. The very creative, colorful & odd Wes Anderson movie ~Moonrise Kingdom. 4.5 stars (out 5). The cast, staging, soundtrack, geography, and set up of the movie were glorious. This movie has craftsmanship. For whatever that’s worth. It ended and I had ~that head tilted to side ~ thing happening. I wanted to see it again as soon as possible. Lovely.

If you loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Darjeeling, The L:ife Aquatic and The Royal Tennenbams you are in good company with Moonrise Kingdom. Just the right amount of French Music combined with just enough saturated down colours equal a delicious piece of fun. The plot could have been deeper but it really was an essential must see movie. He really loves the dioramas. This video is Bill Murray giving a set tour. So Bill. 

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Wrap me in bacon. And by that I mean ~ wrap bacon around everything*

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These were my contribution to dinner tonight. My sweets was out fishing today. So after I got more than enough sun, and by sun I mean haze and humid, not direct sun! ~I came in and prepped a side dish. He was kayak fishing on the ocean so I didn’t want to offend and make a meat dish in case the catch of the day was halibut! Bacon. Just the word posted beside the word halibut makes me want to try that now too. I used the crockpot and recipe book (wow, I’ve come so far in one year, eh?) to cut down on the fat quota but don’t worry these little bad boys were as bad for us as they were delicious. My husband was very pleased, indeed. No fish brought home, though many caught and cool go pro videos to go with them. He bbq’d ribs. oh my. Team work.

PS. on the bacon theme ~ said gorgous and sweet-toothed husband has a crush on the toffee lady at the Saturday Farmers market, here on Quadra Island. Oh yes, he does. She makes organic chocolates, truffles, toffees. Today he bought 3 bags of naughty. Bacon toffee & almond bark. He always buys the bacon toffee. Today she actually warned him to “take care of your teeth!”. Which I thought was cool. Perhaps she could give away toothbrushes too? No bacon shame.