Thursday, 21 August 2014

Texas Caviar (aka Amazing Goodness in a Bowl)

Back in July I was visiting my super amazing friend and she kept raving about Texas Caviar. When she described it to me I thought it sounded disgusting but decided to give it a try.

She started with this recipe from, which she got from a coworker, and then modified it a bit. This recipe is quite flexible, depending on what you like and what you have on hand. It takes a lot of chopping but is totally worth it!

2 jalapeƱo peppers 
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 red onion
2 cans black beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can chick peas
2 cans corn
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white sugar

Step 1:
Finely chop all peppers and red onion, and place in large bowl.

Step 2:
Rinse and drain beans and corn, and add them to large bowl.

Step 3:
Mix liquids, pour into the large bowl, and stir.

The longer you let this sit, the better it gets. With that said, we couldn't resist digging in right away with some tortilla chips. Trust me. It's that good.

Shared at: The Happy Scraps, Artsy Fartsy Mama, Echoes of Laughter, Diana Rambles, Natasha in Oz, Serenity You

Monday, 18 August 2014

Removing Tree Sap From Mesh Sneakers and A Bear

J and I love to camp and hike and go on adventures. Recently we were hiking on a camping trip and J was wearing his very new sneakers. Unfortunately he got a big blob of tree sap right on the toe of one shoe. Now I'm not one of those people who think sneakers should be spotless but this blob looked really bad so we went to work trying to remove it.

after several unsuccessful cleaners

As a side note, this little guy tried to join our picnic while we were camping. We had finished our lunch and put the food back in the car. J was on the dock with Raven, who was drying off after a swim, and I was at the table with our drinks  picking our next hike from the guide book. J noticed Raven was staring at something, looked, and saw this black bear cub about 20 feet from us. He called out to me and we all backed away to the safety of our car. The bear went to the dock and then up to the picnic table where I'd been seated. In my hasty retreat I'd left our soft drinks on the table. The bear sniffed them, decided (s)he wasn't interested, and wandered back in the woods. We waited a while to see if the bear would come back and when there was no sign of it J, armed with bearspray, went and retrieved the rest of our belongings from the table.

Anyway, back to the tree sap sneaker. We tried several methods that were suggested online that used things we had at home: Goo Gone, dish soap, even Vim. None of these made much of a dent in the tree sap. 

the cleaner that actually worked

Finally we found the solution that really worked: alcohol. I used little alcohol swabs because that's what I had on hand (love these things!) and a toothbrush to work down in the mesh. Once the sap was gone I gave the sneakers a good scrubbing with some water and left them to dry. After they were dry we can still see the mark but it's quite faded and not noticeable unless you're looking for it.

after scrubbing with toothbrush and alcohol

The next day we went to Newfoundland and I forgot to take an after picture, so this after picture is actually two weeks later, after much more hiking and adventures. Oh well, you can still tell the spot is mostly gone.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Guest Bedroom: Paint

In my last post I showed you my trick for deciding on paint colours. Want to know which one I picked?

Behr's Wheadbread

I actually picked up the samples a few months ago and when I went to buy my paint was told that Behr had changed all their names. Fortunately the woman in the paint department was able to look it up for me.

While this colour will eventually go throughout the house I started with D's former bedroom, which is becoming a guest room. I learned from my stalled bedroom redo that I don't like colour on my walls, but prefer it in my fabrics and accessories, so that's the plan for this room.

I've already got the fabric to make my first quilt and supplies for a few other projects so I'm sure there'll be a lot more posts about this room. For now I'm happy just to walk by and see the pretty beige walls.

Shared at: Lines Across, My Pinterventures, Sugar Bee Crafts, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, Home Coming, Tiny Sidekick, Fluster Buster

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Picking Paint Colours

It has taken me a while to find my decorating style but I'm getting there. One thing I've come to realize is that as much as I love colour in my house, I don't like it on my walls. I'm a beige girl. There's just something about it that speaks to me and makes me feel comfortable in my house. 

All that to say our house is getting painted. I will do some rooms myself (I quite enjoy painting) and we will hire someone to do the main parts because I'm not tackling a two-story wall with a vaulted ceiling. I'm crazy but not that crazy. 

Because this colour will be carried throughout our house I wanted to be sure I'd like it but didn't want to paint parts of the wall in every room. I saw this idea somewhere but, despite much searching, can't find the original post I saw. I commented on it so if it was your post please let me know.

I narrowed my choices down to five beiges and bought some samples. I then painted each colour on several sheets of white paper, labeled them, and let them dry. 

Once the papers were dry I hung them around the house in different locations. As you can see, the lighting totally changes depending on the room. Once they were up we were able to eliminate several right away and then I took a few weeks to narrow down the final three to one.

Want to know which one was the winner? You'll have to come back later and see. I've spent the day painting the guest room with the one we picked and I love it! I'll post about it soon.

Shared at: Ginger Snap Crafts, Sew Much Crafting, Someday Crafts, The Happy Housie, A Creative Princess, Lines Across, My Pinterventures, Sugar Bee Crafts, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, Home Coming, Tiny Sidekick, Fluster Buster

Friday, 18 July 2014

Birds Nest Pendants

I know I've shown you my birds nest pendants before (here and here), along with a tutorial which was one of my first posts (here). Here are some more I recently made for a custom order for 8 pendants which left the colours and combinations up to me. 

These are definitely my best-selling item, both in my Etsy store but even more so through referrals from people who have their own. While I was in the mood, I made several extras that I'll eventually post in my shop.

Shared at: My Pinterventures, A Stroll Thru Life, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, Sew Much Crafting, The Happy Housie, A Creative Princess

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Jolly Rancher Vodka (Gluten and Dairy Free. Seriously.)

As of tomorrow I'll be in Saskatchewan visiting a dear friend and her wonderful family. I wanted to make a little something for her so I decided to try a recipe for Jolly Rancher Vodka from Mix That Drink

To make this you'll need:
Jolly Ranchers
Glass Jars

First, sort your candy. I was surprised that, even with two packs of candy, I had just enough of certain flavours and not enough of others.  

Next, measure your vodka into jars. J and I are not big drinkers but I didn't want to give it to someone without trying it, so I made 3 jars for my friend with 6 oz of vodka each and 3 jars for J and I with 1.5 oz of vodka each. After doing some research I learned not all vodka is safe for me but Smirnoff is totally fine.

Next you add your Jolly Ranchers. The ratio is 1 candy to every 1/2 oz of vodka. That meant 12 for the large jars and 3 for the small jars. I used Watermelon, Green Apple, and Grape.

Then you wait, and shake occasionally. 

It took less than 18 hours and the candy was totally dissolved. 

We tried our samples with ice and Sprite, and they were delicious. Given how easy this was, I think it'd make a great gift for a variety of occasions.

Shared at: Home Coming, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, C.R.A.F.T., My Pinterventures, A Stroll Thru Life, Someday Crafts, The Happy Housie, A Creative Princess

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Running! Medal Holder

You know what's strange? In the 9 runs J and I have done since we've been together, the first one to have finishers medals was the Calgary Marathon. That may or may not have been part of the reason I signed up. Anyway, since completing the 10k in Calgary our medals have hung over the corner of my mirror but I decided they needed to be showcased.

There are a lot of these on the internet but I didn't use a tutorial. Instead, in my true style, I winged it. I know. I'm a wild one. In case you'd like to make your own with directions, here's what to do.


Sand paper
Sponges and paintbrushes
Letter template 
Acrylic sealant
Hanging hardware


Step 1: Prepare the wood. I used a 14 inch piece of kiln-dried pine because I didn't want it to warp. I used the sander to smooth the edges and then cleaned it with damp cloth.

Step 2: Paint the wood. I did two coats of beige followed by three coats of navy, with a light sanding between each coat.

Step 3: Distress the edges using sandpaper. I went back and forth about this (I'm not a fan of antiqued pieces) but liked the look while I was sanding between coats so I decided to go outside my comfort zone.

Step 4: Paint the letters. Dear goodness, this was a mess. I started by making a template using a Cricut and then taped it into place. I had read somewhere that if you paint the colour of the base first, it'll hide a lot of the bleeds. It turns out that doesn't work when your stencil is paper.

Step 4.5: Spend a very long time with fine-tipped paintbrushes fixing up the giant mess you made with the letters.

Step 5: Seal the whole thing. This might have been unnecessary but I did it anyway. I used a spray acrylic sealant and did two coats.

Step 6: Measure out the spacing of your hooks and screw them into place.

Step 7: Attach hardware to hang the medal holder. If I were doing this again, I would use a secure one in the middle, as this one has a tendency to move. Live and learn.

This was a finicky project that took a lot longer than I expected but, given the months of training that went into those medals, I'd say it's worth it. The sad thing is that I'm currently off running due to an injury but as soon as I'm allowed I'll be working to fill up the rest of those hooks.

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Shared at: Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, My Pinterventures, A Stroll Thru Life, Echoes of Laughter, Kathe With An E, Sugar Bee Crafts, Home Coming, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, C.R.A.F.T.