Friday, 31 January 2014

Round Beaded Necklace

One of my favourite types of projects is making jewelry. I love how I can make something fairly quickly and cheaply that adds so much to an outfit, especially given that most of my clothing is black or grey.

       
When I started making this necklace I had an idea of what it would look like but it took several twists and turns before becoming something I was excited to wear.

     
To start, I gathered my supplies. In this picture is what I expected to use but I actually used the following:
  • 2 pieces of silver chain (equal length)
  • 1 lobster clasp
  • 2 jump rings
  • 3 coloured beads
  • 2 headpins
  • 3 pieces of black beaded chain (the longest should be the same length as the other two pieces and the 2 smaller beads on their headpin   
        
     
I started by attaching my clasp to the silver chain using jump rings. Next I put my two coloured beads on a head pin and made a loop on both ends.

      
Then I used the loops on the black beaded segments to attach them to the silver chain and the coloured beads.

      
I thought I was done at this point but when I put it on the coloured beads were too heavy and kept turning the necklace.


Next I thought maybe I’d add another bead dangling off the middle to help weigh it down. Unfortunately, it wasn’t heavy enough and it looked odd.


I decided to rearrange my coloured beads. I paired up the two smaller coloured beads and put them where I had originally place the coloured beads. I then put the red bead, which was the heaviest, in the middle to help anchor the necklace.


     
It took a while but I finally ended up with a necklace I liked and that stayed it place. I wore it with a typically work outfit – dark grey pants, back shirt, light grey sweater – and loved the pop of colour it added.

Shared at: Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, A Peek Into My Paradise, Home Coming, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, Natasha in Oz

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Arm Knitting - Pinterest Fail

I’ve been pretty slack on crafting lately but I had a little extra free time tonight and thought it’d be fun to try a quick project. I browsed my Pinterest boards and noticed I’d pinned several tutorials for arm knitting so that’s what I chose to do.


I dug out some wool that I’d been planning to use to knit a scarf and started following one of the tutorials. I’m not sharing the link because I think that’d be bad form.

Here's the partially finished scarf wrapped around my neck.
Please ignore how it clashes with my sloppy t shirt.
     
It was pretty simple and quick to do, and after about 10 minutes I had a pretty long scarf hanging off my arm. The only problem was that it looked horrible. I thought that possibly by wrapping it around my neck it would look better but it turns out I was wrong. Then I thought maybe I didn't like it when I wrapped it around my neck because it wasn't full enough. I wrapped it around my arm three times to see if it'd look better. Nope. Still ugly.

That mess is supposed to be a scarf. Gross.
      
Instead of trying to problem solve I just pulled it apart and called it a fail because, really, I’d only spent 10 minutes and wasn’t invested in the project.  I still think arm knitting has the potential to be cute. I’m guessing that if I used thicker wool, doubled it up, or made the knitting tighter, it would have worked out better.

Shared at: Tiny Sidekick, Fluster Buster, Clean & Scentsible, The Happy Housie, Someday Crafts, A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, Artsy-Fartsy Mama, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, A Peek Into My Paradise, A Stroll Thru Life, Home Coming, Kathe With An E

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Who Needs Birthday Cake? Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Zucchini Banana Carob Muffins

It’s my birthday today. I’m the big 3-2. Exciting, right? Except I’m not feeling the excitement. J’s really sick (so sick he came home early from work for the first time in the 6 years we’ve been together) and I’m worn out so I’m spending the day relaxing at home and doing things I love but for which I rarely have time.

To start off the morning, I made myself some birthday muffins because, honestly, who wants to eat gluten-free dairy-free birthday cake? These are the best things I’ve made using gluten-free flour so far. It’s not even lunch time and I’ve already eaten two three.
            
      
This recipe started out using this one from Sweet Peas and Pumpkins (love the name!) but I’ve adapted it based on ingredients I had in my house. You could also sub regular flour (don’t forget to omit the guar gum) and regular milk if you don’t have food issues.


Ingredients:

Dry
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup carob chips

Wet
  •  3/4 cup packed grated zucchini (mine was frozen so I thawed it and drained the water)
  • 3/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (I used vanilla flavoured)
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil


Step 1: Preheat oven to 400.

      
Step 2: In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

      
Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients.

     
Step 4: Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring only until mixed.

      
Step 5: Place mixture in muffin tins. I use paper liners because it makes clean up easier but my muffins did stick to the paper. Bake about 20 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean).

Friday, 17 January 2014

52-Week Organizing Challenge: Weeks 1 & 2

For those of you who were with my last year, you may remember my resolution was to go through every room in my house, clean and purge, take photos, and fill in my insurance binder. I got most of the rooms done and then got stalled.

In an attempt to get back on track, and to continue working on my resolution of “focus less on the stuff”, I decided to try the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home by Home Storage Solutions 101.

I asked my dear friend Jen from Black Dog Blog if she’d be onboard and she emphatically said yes. Together, we’re tackling our houses. In order to facilitate this, I’ve started a private facebook group for us to post each week’s challenge and share our progress and I’ve decided to also share it here.

These posts will be very photo-heavy and I apologize in advance for the poor photos. I didn't worry about lighting when taking the pictures for these posts.

Week 1: Kitchen Counters and Table

The challenge started off with an easy week for me, as my kitchen is normally pretty tidy. With that said, I did find some things that could be put away, moved, or gotten rid of.   
   




This next set of photos is deceiving. I was in the process of trying to catch up on my scrapbooking (I'm very behind!) and had my supplies spread all over the table. I realize the cord looks messy but we have to plug in our cars regularly so it has to stay by the door.



Week 2: Kitchen Drawers and Cabinets

As with week one, this was a pretty easy one. I did have to do some rearranging but didn't have much to get rid of.




The cupboard in the middle is my tupperware cupboard and it drives me crazy! It looks better for now but I need to find a better solution.



The empty space in the above photos is deceiving. It's actually where my cookbooks belong but they're currently on my coffee table so I can go through them.



     
In the above picture you can't really see it but I used a couple of these stacking shelves for my baking pans. I'm loving them!      
       


The recycling has been bugging me for so long and yet I've put off doing anything about it. A simple fix was to bring up an empty container from the basement.

And of course Benson had to come say hello… 
      



    
No befores of my drawers. Sorry.


So are you in? If you decide to do this (or any) organizing challenge, I'd love to see it!


Monday, 13 January 2014

BE Bulletin Board

Today you get two bulletin boards for the price of one. Yes, I realize they are actually both free but who doesn't like feeling like they're getting a bargain?  
   

Boards similar to this first one are all over Pinterest, and the words I used came from several other blogs although I can't give you links because none of the ones I pinned actually lead anywhere. It did take a while to type up the terms using Microsoft Word, cut them out, and mount them but I think it was worth it. If you want to save yourself some time, leave a comment with your email address and I'll gladly send you the Word document. 



This second board is intended to be a background for photos from recent activities. I set it up and the administrative assistant printed off the pictures and put them up. She'll continue to update it as we get new pictures. As you can see, I blurred the name of the school and the pictures of the students to maintain their privacy.

Friday, 10 January 2014

DIY Workout Shirt

If you had asked me a year ago I never would have imagined that today I would consider myself a runner. I enjoyed walking/running but never anything serious. This summer I started actually training and now I typically run 5k (3.1 miles) anywhere from 2 to 5 times a week. Last night I ran my best time yet, 34:19, which may not be super fast but was quite good for me. 



After Christmas J and I bought a treadmill. While I still prefer running outside, it's nice to be able to run regardless of the weather. An added bonus is that when I'm running in the basement no one sees me, which leads me to this workout shirt. There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest but I just winged it. I don't think I'd be comfortable wearing it in public but, when I'm in the privacy of my basement, it's perfect!



Step 1: Find an old, worn out, too big t-shirt. This one is from university and is so worn out and stained that I really shouldn't even wear it as a pj shirt anymore.

Step 2: Cut off the arms, bottom, and neck. I went about an inch past the seam in all places.

Step 3: Turn the shirt over and cut a "v" in the back.

Step 4: Scrunch the back together. Take the piece cut from the bottom and tie it around the scrunched part.

Step 5: Put it on and go work out. Or put it on, take a few pictures, and then sit down on the couch. Yay for rest day. 


      
Shared at: Diana Rambles, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Lines Across, A Creative Princess, Sugar Bee Crafts

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Carob Chip Cookies

I feel as though I’ve been sharing a lot more recipes than usual lately but I guess that’s part of adjusting to a whole new way of eating.

I’ve got a good handle on my meals but am stull struggling with snacks. Today I made these cookies and they’re so delicious that even J, who is extremely picky, went back for more.


    
This recipe is based on this Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe from Domestic Fits.

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup whole oats (If you’re trying to eat gluten-free, be sure you have gluten-free oats. I was surprised to learn that many of the main brands are cross-contaminated.)
1/2 cup (in my case a generous 1/2 cup) carob chips



Preheat oven to 350.
     
Put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir them together, being sure they are well-blended.

Scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten with a fork.


     
Bake about 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.

Allow to cool partially on cookie sheet before trying to remove, so that they don’t crack and crumble.

This recipe made 26 cookies and I probably ate another 2 cookies worth of batter before it was cooked.


Did you notice the beautiful blue plate? It's my special plate. My Aunt Anne gave it to me as a present, along with a matching bowl and mug, for Christmas one year. It was one of the last things she gave me before she passed away and I treasure it. No one else is allowed to use it and every time I use it, I think of her. Isn't it lovely?

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

As some of you know, based on doctor’s orders I’ve been gluten and dairy free for several months now. One thing it has forced me to do is cook more and try new recipes. This recipe for buffalo turkey meatballs, which is modified from Shrinking Kitchen, is one of my favourites!



Ingredients:
1 pkg. ground turkey
1 egg
½ cup panko-style gluten-free breadcrumbs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup hot sauce (I used Franks) - I'm heavy handed with my hot sauce because I love it!

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet by covering it with tinfoil and spraying it with non-stick spray.


    
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir them together.


    
Form the mixture into small balls. I used a small ice cream scoop to make them all the same size. Once formed, place them on the baking sheet.


Cook until cooked through, about 25 minutes.