Sunday, 11 October 2015

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cookies with Chocolate Chips - Gluten and Dairy Free

First, to all my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you're having a lovely day and taking some time to reflect on and express gratitude. 

Now on to the reason you're here. Last weekend I had book club and, because in October it seems like everything needs pumpkin in it, I made these delicious pumpkin cinnamon cookies. I'm not crazy about all things pumpkin but trust me when I say these are amazing. Don't believe me? I brought some to a coworker (who also has food restrictions) and she liked them so much, she went home and made them herself. Plus J, who normally doesn't like anything made with "my" flour, wanted me to leave some for him. Now it's your turn to make them. Seriously, you won't regret it.

I started these cookies with the Pumpkin Cookie recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. The original recipe called for cinnamon chips but I couldn't find them locally and I wanted to make the cookies so I subbed carob chips. I also modified it to make it work with ingredients I had at home, as well as to make it gluten-free and dairy-free. I like small cookies so I get approximately 60 from this recipe.


2 1/2 cups flour (I used Cloud 9 gluten-free flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance made with soy)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I used carob chips)

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon


First, preheat oven to 350. Line sheets with parchment paper.

Next, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

In another bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar together. It's important to cream them until they're light and fluffy. Add in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients using the mixer. Once they are all blended together, stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Stir cinnamon sugar topping together in a bowl. Make balls of dough and roll them in the topping. Place them on the baking sheet and press down with a fork. 

Bake 15 minutes, and let cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

One thing I've discovered with many gluten-free flours is that they don't do well when they go from cold to warm. If I refrigerate or freeze my cookies, they get mushy. Instead I leave them on the counter and they stay a great consistency.

On a side note, this is only the second time since starting our book club that I haven't finished the book. I'm still working on it but it's definitely a slow read and not one I'd recommend.

Shared at: Made in a Day, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With an E, The Crafty Blog Stalker

Monday, 21 September 2015

Minion Mini Cupcakes

This summer I decided to jump on the minion bandwagon. I've never really understand the appeal of them, but I had my dear friend and her daughters coming to visit this summer. It was just before their birthdays, which are only a week apart) and they were turning 3 and 5 so I wanted to do something to celebrate with them.

If you came here looking for a fancy recipe, you will be disappointed. Just putting that out there. To make these, I used a boxed cake mix (gluten free, dairy free of course) and made plain vanilla icing. 

However, to make them more minion-y I added some food colouring: blue for the cupcakes, yellow for the icing.

Then I added some of these super delicious, pure sugar candy minion pieces I found at Michaels. I didn't realize they still made these candy pieces and I'd forgotten how yummy they are.

I realize these are not fancy pictures, but enjoying the cupcakes was more important than taking pretty pictures. The girls (and their mom and I) loved the cupcakes and, more importantly, I loved how excited they were about having an early birthday celebration.

While my friend was visiting, we also did some canning and I'll share the jalapeƱo jelly with you soon. In the mean time, if you want to see some other projects I've done with and/or for this friend, check these out. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Painters Tape Art

Um, hey. Remember me? I'm finally back and have an awesome, easy project to share with you today. 

We're doing intervention blocks at school this year and for students who aren't claimed, one of the options is a craft. As you can imagine, I'm pretty excited about getting to craft with my students every week. When I was looking for an activity I could do with some students, this seemed like a cheap, doable idea. 

Before doing this with students, I made sure we had the supplies we needed at school and made a couple samples to show them. I also brought my first painters tape art (which still hangs in my living room) to show them. As well, I typed up and printed a powerpoint slide with the instructions to scatter around our workspace.

Painters tape or masking tape
Water and paper towel
Instructions (if doing this with a group)
Scrap paper or a table cloth (if you want to protect you surface)

Step 1: Place the tape.

Step 2: Paint. To minimize bleeding you should start on the tape and work your way to the centre. If you change colours, wash your brush and dry it in a paper towel.

Step 3: Remove your tape.

This went really well with the students and they all went home with a fun, new piece of art.

Also, I need to give credit to some amazing blogs. The pictures from the bottom of my powerpoint instructions came from the following blogs, listed from left to right.

3 - The link I have is broken. If you have a link, please send it to me.

Do you have any great projects to do with teenagers? I'd love suggestions!

Featured at:

Shared at: Life on Lakeshore Drive, Natasha in Oz, What Meegan Makes, Create With Joy, Made in a Day, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Just a Girl and Her Blog, A Creative Princess

Monday, 27 July 2015

Hair: Art Class Number Nine

In case you noticed, I realize I haven't yet shared art classes six through eight. They're coming soon but first I thought I'd share this one, mainly because I've already taken photos of it.

I made this painting with a friend in mind using her favourite colours. She was turning 40 and her partner arranged a small surprise dinner for her. I really am grateful for a husband who's ok with me leaving him home alone for the weekend because I used the dinner as an excuse to road trip and catch up with old friends. 

The funny thing about this painting is that it was the hardest one I've ever done even though it looks wild and free. I'm a neat, precise painting and I struggle with mess and disorder. Given that this painting is meant to be wild and crazy, I had to really work to make it look inexact. 

I also was terrified to splatter paint but had been wanting to do it on one of my pieces so I decided this was the perfect piece. I love how that one red drop fell just below her lip.

Is it strange to have a favourite part of a painting? In this one, it's totally the edge of her shoulder and back. I love the smooth blending of the colours with the touches of messy grey.

The above photo was at the art studio when I thought I was finished. The more I looked at it, the more something looked odd but I couldn't place my finger on it. Finally I realized I'd forgotten to give the lady a nostril. I added one in and it was exactly what was bothering me.

Shared at: Ginger Snap Crafts, Fluster Buster, A Creative Princess, Natasha in Oz, Life on Lakeshore Drive

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Circle Wall Hanging

Do you ever spend ages looking for something, only to find it after you've given up hope that it existed? That's exactly what happened with this project. 

I wanted something with circles for above the bed in the guest room. I'd pinned several pictures and had looked every time I went shopping since I started the room but everything I found was either not quite right or way too expensive. 

Last week I decided if I wanted it I was going to have to make it myself. I explained to J what I wanted and we brainstormed what material to use. I went to the city yesterday to run some errands and, while I was there, I planned to go to Home Depot and get what I needed. 

Thankfully I went to Winners first because I saw exactly what I'd been looking for. The best part? $39.99. When I brought it home, J even commented that it's almost exactly like my drawing.

The one hitch was the colour but that was an easy fix. A few coats of silver spray paint and it was perfect. 

These dings and dents might be damage or they might be part of the design. Either way, I really love the texture they add.

I let it dry overnight and hung it the next day. I love the pop of silver against the beige walls, and the circles are a nice contrast to the squares in the quilt. 

Shared at: What Meegan Makes, The Kolb Corner, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, Fluster Buster, Natasha in Oz

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Guest Room Curtains

Perhaps I should have called this post "Why I Broke The Rules" but I don't want to sound like too much of a rebel. In all seriousness, I made these curtains months ago (actually, almost a year ago) but haven't shared them. 

Here's the thing: I know curtains that are hung high and go to the floor are supposed to make a room look larger / better but that just doesn't work for me. For starters, I have a dog who sheds like a beast. She doesn't go in the guest room but her hair still manages to make it in there on occasion. Also, the curtain rods were hung quickly and I had no motivation to have them moved. Third, these curtains make me happy and it's my house so my happiness is more important than doing what the inter webs say is correct.

To make these, I followed the same steps as I did for my living room and kitchen windows. You can see the instructions here.  

I used Wonderlust Luna fabric by Pat Bravo with room darkening lining, opting not to go for total blackout. This was the first fabric that caught my eye and inspired the quilt, which was the starting point for the room. 

It was very hard to get a nice picture of these in the light but I think they're wonderful and I'm glad I broke the rules. What decorating rules do you choose to ignore?

Shared at: Diana Rambles, Natasha in Oz, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Fine Craft Guild, What Meegan Makes, Our Secondhand House, The Kolb Corner, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess

Sunday, 12 July 2015

How To Slice A Watermelon

Summer has arrived and I could not be more grateful. It was quite the year - school was very challenging and I was dealing with some medical issues - and it absolutely exhausted me mentally, physically, and emotionally. Then, because I'm a genius, I decided to spend the first two weeks of my official holidays living in a hotel and marking provincial exams. In what world did I think 12 days of essay marking would be a good idea? 

I know that some people think teachers have it easy with summers off but I think those people are horribly mistaken. By the end the school year I'm an absolutely mess and need this time to recover. Honestly, I've given so much to my kids all year that I need some serious me time. While I plan on spending my summer getting things done, I've been spending my first couple days binge watching Orange Is The New Black and eating copious amounts of watermelon.

Which brings me to the reason for this post: how to cut a watermelon. I recently learned that I've been doing it all wrong, and figured I can't be the only one.

First I cut the watermelon in half. Lay it face down and cut off the edges.

Next slice the entire watermelon one way.

Then slice it the other way. Normally I put it in the container as I slice it but I left it all on the cutting board so you could see.

Seriously, it's that easy. I realize this may not seem like a big thing but it's fantastic. Give it a try. I promise, you'll love it. Also, the picture above is a lie. I've eaten about 7 times that much… since this morning… 

Featured at Diana Rambles

Shared at: Sew Much Crafting, My Pinterventures, A Stroll Thru Life, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess, Diana Rambles, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Natasha in Oz, What Meegan Makes, Nibbles By Nic, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster