Sunday, November 30, 2008

i baked!

i made cookies! and they turned out! i still have lots of stuff that i'm behind on updating with (needlework, pewter, the ruffler foot, dyed trees, etc!), but i'm super excited about these!

i should say that i'm not much of a cook. i regularly refer to recipes as "patterns", i can never remember how much of the shortening stick is half a cup, and i'm incredibly impatient while things are cooking. i have a few "specialties", and that's it.

but i really wanted to make sugar cookies, and since the games day i went to today was mostly vegans and vegetarians, i decided to try making vegan sugar cookies. i found this recipe through google, and it worked fabulously!


the recipe says it will make 36 cookies, so i made a double batch. i separated the dough into two logs for refrigerating, and only ended up using one log. one log made over 60 cookies! i definitely rolled them a bit thin, so that was part of it, but still! and the icing says it will coat 24 cookies, but i made one batch and coated about 35 cookies before i decided i was bored with it, and left the rest un-iced. there was definitely enough icing left for more though. the overall recipe is awesome, but will probably make more than you expect.

i love how the icing looks! it coats the cookie perfectly. the sprinkles are vegan too.

the cookies ended up about 80% organic (total guesstimate there, by the way!). i used earth balance buttery sticks, organic sugar by wholesome sweeteners, ener-G egg replacements, choices bulk organic flour, non-organic baking powder, non-organic vanilla, and tofutti cream cheese for the cookies. for the icing, i used icing sugar by wholesome sweeteners (their sugar is all vegan, fyi), so good original instead of the silk vanilla, because i hate the vanilla soy, so i never have it, non-organic corn syrup, non-organic almond extract, and organic/vegan sprinkelz sprinkles on top. basically, i used non-organic for things that i only needed a little bit of, i didn't want to buy all new vanilla and almond extracts or baking powder, and i refused to pay $10 for 4 teaspoons of corn syrup. i had to supplement the flour with non-organic as well, because i ran out!

i thought the corn syrup flavour was a bit strong in the icing, probably because i didn't use light (couldn't find it, except in the $10 organic kind), and because i used the plain soy milk. however, i didn't hear anyone else complain, and one person actually complimented the almond flavour, which i thought was totally overpowered by the corn syrup!

they were pretty much a hit, and by the time i left the games day, they were all gone. my dad ate about 6 of them before i told him that they were vegan, at which point he was all grossed out.... but by the time i got home, he was wanting to know where the un-iced leftovers were! they were quite pricey, but i live in the suburbs, and organic foods (real organic foods, not the "slap-a-label-on-it-and-call-it-organic" foods) are in limited supply and expensive. if i'd had time to go into vancouver, they would have been a lot less.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

vinyl goodies and a chunky page!

and here's the package i sent gingerquilts!

mm, i love this bag! it turned out so well. the teal colour is so awesome, i'd totally forgotten i had it until i went looking for vinyl to use on this bag. i ended up buying more black specifically for this purpose, because i wanted a black vinyl that was a little shinier. the matte stuff i had just didn't look right. the lining is a quilting cotton, and i think it matched really well.

gq bag1

gq bag4
i added a little loop at the bottom of one side of the strap, it's handy if you have your keys on one of those hook things (carabiners? is that what they're called?) the strap itself is a strip of vinyl sewn to thick strapping.

the pocket on the back of the bag
gq bag2
gq bag3

and the inside, with lots more pockets! (i turned the bag inside out for the pics, obviously!)

the zippered vinyl pocket on one side
gq bag5

the cotton pockets on the other side to hold pens, ipod, etc.
gq bag6

elasticized pockets on the sides to hold cell phone, etc.
gq bag7

i made her a matching checkbook cover as well, with a simplified version of the branches on the bag.

the bag took forever, partly because there are so many pockets, but mostly because the design was so complicated! i used the same image as on the wedding totes i made for jean a year and a half ago, which is gorgeous, but finicky! i love the end result though.

and here's the chunky page i made. gingerquilts told me that the one she made me was fairly simple, so i took her word on it (she lied!), and made a fairly simple chunky page for her. i hope she liked it, even though it wasn't nearly as cool as the one she made me!

the front - i started with ledger paper and stamped with ink using a paper doily as a stencil, then i overstamped with a brighter blue with a stitching pattern stamp. i added a vintage snap card and the embossed scissors, needle and thread and thimble (stamps by victorine originals), then glued on some vintage buttons.
sewing chunky front

the back - the same background as the front, with an embossed sewing machine by victorine originals
sewing chunky back

details - vintage buttons, ribbons and fibers
sewing chunky detail

my amazing sacred heart quilt from gingerquilts, and more!

i have been a craptastic swapper, and it took me this long to post pictures of the awesome stuff i received from gingerquilts.

gingerquilts and i were partners in the IYP swap (IYP = invite your partner - she invited me, i was so flattered!) and we decided to each send one big project and one chunky page, since we were never partnered up together in the chunky swap. i saw the sacred heart wallhanging that she'd made for stifflersmom a while ago, and i've been lusting over it ever since, and she wanted one of my vinyl bags.

first, the chunky page. she told me it would be "simple"!! it's fabulous, and definitely not simple!
front of the fabric chunky page

and the back
back of the fabric chunky page

i love the sewing girl! her dress is so fricking cool with the letters in it, and the face is perfect! and dude, pompom trim!!

the big project. i wanted to post an action shot of this, but i haven't been able to get a proper hanger for it, so you can kind of see the blue gingham curtain rod i used instead!
sacred heart quilt wall hanging
isn't it amazing?!

and a wider shot, so that you can see how fabulous it looks in my bathroom!
action shot!

i love it so much! she sent me a bunch of other goodies because she felt bad that the quilt wasn't embellished enough - whatever! it's gorgeous! (but i still love the goodies anyway!)

she sent me a glow in the dark virgin mary figurine, which i adore (the one on the right!)
glow in the dark mary

and another wider shot, it fits perfectly on that shelf!
mary action shot

and awesome skull fabrics!! we have way less selection of fun fabrics here, and since i've declared a moratorium on online shopping (oh god, my poor visa), this is MUCH appreciated!
skull fabric

and these incredible vintage buttons! i LOVE vintage buttons, especially the big ones, and these are so perfect! she packaged them up in a little fabric bag, you can see it peeking out in the corner of the picture.
vintage buttons

she totally spoiled me, thank you so much gingerquilts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

things i love thursday!

barely! i almost missed it this week. my little sister is over tonight, and i'm helping her with some last minute sewing for a project due tomorrow, and it's taking longer than i'd thought. my sewing machine makes very skookum buttonholes though!

so, just a quickie, cause i need to get back to it.

- east vancouver. oh commercial drive, how i love you. not just for the hot folks of all genders in funky clothes seen while people watching, not just for the thai take out, and not just for the people's co-op bookstore. i also adore you for your CHEAP organic and vegan food, and if i hadn't been so pressed for time and energy today, i would have come to see you, instead of paying suburb prices at the big chain nature food store. one day i'll be back with you.

- my friends! especially the mod girls, even though i've been feeling so crummy lately and have been pretty non communicative, they love me anyway, and they're always there for me. plus they're crafty, what more could you need in a friend?

- the snow geese that are resting in my area while on their way south. so pretty!

- sofie and louie, my kitty baby and my kitty nephew. they're such good cuddle monsters, and they're all about the lovin'. louie knew i felt crummy today, he crawled up my chest to nuzzle my face, and sofie curled up beside me. aw.

- pj pants! mmm, flannelette! i snatched up a couple very fun prints at 50% last night to make pj pants with, and i can't wait. one print glows in the dark!

there was something else.... i think of things to write throughout the week, and it never fails that i've forgotten half of them by thursday! i'll probably think of it just as i'm falling asleep!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

things i love thursday!

* my kitties. i'm so happy to see them! i missed them while i was away, especially my sofie-bean.

* the AMAZING package i received from gingerquilts!

* mm, my bed! even more so now that i've been sleeping on relatives beds and in the car for 10 days!

* craft and political magazines. god, i read too many! i'll have to do a post about that soon.

* vintage christmas! i have so many new purchases to photograph!

i might add more later. i know i have more, but it's naptime i think!

i am home!!


i actually got home monday night, after a quite grueling 32 hour trip. whew! it usually takes about 23 or 24 hours of driving, but this time we were driving a loaded pickup, so we couldn't go as fast, and the roads weren't too great. we spent 4 hours sitting on the side of the road outside of calgary, waiting for either daylight or the salt truck to come along and melt the sheer ice coating the roads, watching a ridiculous number of people drive into the ditch while we sat there (the stupider ones got back out and kept driving!), ranging from cars, pickups and semis.

the cab of a pickup isn't really big enough for two people for that long of a period, and by the time we got home, i was pretty desperate for a shower and space to stretch out. unfortunately, our hot water tank had died that morning, complete with water all over the damn place, so i drove over to my sister's apartment. it was the best shower of my life!

the trip itself was good. these november trips are always pretty brutal, because they're just so damn short, and there are too many relatives to see. i'm really not accustomed anymore to being around people 24/7, i spend a lot of time by myself online or crafting, and i find it really exhausting. i usually base myself at my paternal grandparent's house, and my grandmother tends to forget that i can't always do things, so i end up running up and down stairs all the time just to prevent a fight. the two of them bicker constantly, which drives me batty, and it's pretty much impossible to keep to any semblance of a normal schedule for me. and my maternal grandmother is blind now, so visiting with her means a lot of housekeeping and cooking, whether i have the energy for it or not. when i go out there in the summer, i stay for longer, so there's more ME time, time to just chill and be by myself for a bit, and that helps me handle the rest of the visit a lot better!

but it's lovely to see them all, because as much as they're crazy, they're also my family, and goodhearted people underneath the craziness! and i love going out in the winter, because i miss it so much (damn BC rain!). and they're all getting older, which is scary.

everytime i go out i see changes, especially in my maternal grandmother, who's nearly 80. she's getting more and more confused, repeating herself all the time, but she refuses to even consider putting her name on a list for a retirement home. she lives in her own house in town, she moved in there after my grandfather died in '90 or '91, she has her lifeline (emergency button on a necklace), she gets meals on wheels, and she has homecare three or four times a day, depending on the day. she's incredibly lucky that she lives where she does, where homecare is available so often (in BC, it's more like 2 or 3 times a week!), and where she has friends and family nearby. but we worry, of course.

i did take a bunch of pictures, and my cousins and i sat down with our (matching) cameras and figured out how to do a whole bunch of neat things. (this is the second time we've had matching cameras, both times as total flukes!)

real snowflakes! in BC we really only get snow "grains", which are like frozen raindrops, or big fat chunks of snow. we never get the pretty delicate flakes floating down.




magpie nest
magpie nest






purple gas

one of my favourite neon signs

and from on the way there
mountains in eastern bc

it's so nice to be home, to see my mom and my babies, to sleep in my own bed. sofie is so happy to see me that everytime i sit down at the computer, she's right up there, sprawled across the keyboard, purring like crazy. it makes it hard to get anything done!

i was stitching like mad while i was away, but mostly for gifts, so i'll hold off on posting them. i did a little bit more last night, while watching america's next top model with my mom (urgh! i hate it when the bitchy ones win!), but that's really the only crafting i've done. i slept most of the day on tuesday, and then yesterday was a really crazy day with errands and then my little brother's convocation (university graduation). i have send outs for the chunky little houses swap on monday, so i need to get my butt moving on that!

i have lots of stuff to catch up on posting though, the fabulous package i received from gingerquilts, the bag i sent her, the crosstitch pieces i was working on before i left, bottlebrush trees from october, lots of stuff! but right now i'm just glad to be home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

i made it!!!

so i started this with about 15 minutes left of thursday, here in prairie time, but then the damn laptop died. so it WAS on time, and we'll just pretend that it still is! this is the first time i've been online since i left, and it was a bit of an adventure. i'd like to point out once again that i HATE dial up, and that this laptop HATES me!

so! things i love thursday!!

*prairie thrift stores!! mmmmmmm.... so cheap, so many great finds!

*vintage buttons. see above!

*snow! i wasn't too impressed with the icey roads last weekend - my lack of winter tires meant that my plans were foiled, but oh well. i love the snow anyway. it's snowing outside right now, and it's gorgeous. pretty little flakes that glisten in the yard light, and actually look like snowflakes when they land on your coat. so pretty.

*dry cold! west coast people don't get this at all, only prairie transplants do. but the cold here is VERY different! i've been whining back in BC about freezing in 10 degree weather (i don't know what that is in fahrenheit, look it up, i'm on goddamn dial-up dude!), but today i was running around in a hoodie in 1 degree, and it was fabulous.

*embroidery. i've been embroidering like mad while i've been here! most of it's for presents, but you'll see it eventually.

*birds! i saw a magpie! and a bluejay! i haven't seen either of those in YEARS and YEARS.

*my family. as much as they're all batshit crazy, and regardless of how many times i've been THIS close to strangling both grandmas in the past week, i love them anyway!

*mmm, venison. and the farmer sausage that the hutterites make.... (um, my spellcheck says that hutterite should be "shutterbug". right....) i know the venison one is controversial, and trust me, i HATE sport hunting (one of my grandpa's friends shoots things for the status - bear rugs, etc, and we all refer to him as "the guy who kills things", he's gross), but i'm more okay with hunting when it's going to be used for food. we use pretty much everything, since my uncle has a butcher shop set up in his garage, and that makes me feel better. and i love venison, it's a much drier, lower fat (not that i care about that) meat than most. and i've been eating poultry practically everyday here, so i'm looking forward to variety! (i had wild turkey yesterday - can't say it tasted much different than store bought!) tomorrow morning i'm going to fry farmer's sausage, and i can't wait! i wonder if we have room in our cooler to bring some home with us????

that's it for now! i'm kinda braindead, being here is pretty damn exhausting, but it's good to be here. but it'll be nice to be home monday too! (i miss my baby and my mom!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

wahoo, i remembered!!

things i love thursday!

just a quickie, because i'm leaving on a trip in about 5 hours, and i'm so not ready (but i still can't resist watching ER!)

- my new black hoodie. i made it to test the sleeve alteration on the pink fleece hoodie (i added WAY more gathering to the pink version, good thing i tested it!). it's so cozy and warm, i love it.

- clearance halloween fabric! i got such a great score at joanns on friday night!

- owls! i tried to resist the trendiness, but they're SO DAMN CUTE!

- snow! i love snow. i hope it snows while i'm in manitoba!

and that's it! i'll be back in a week and a half!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

update post 5! i'm caught up! kinda....

so! that was all the big stuff from the past few weeks!

i've been working on lots of cross stitch pieces, so i'll have to post them soon as well. they're pretty much all i've had the energy for, just something to keep me from going crazy when i don't have the energy to do anything else! i've watched way too many home decorating shows lately, and way too many episodes of CSI. cross stitch is so very addictive, i can't seem to stop now.

last night my sister and i went down to washington state to check out halloween clearance sales. i wasn't really up to it, but she wanted to go, and i couldn't resist the thought of halloween stuff, so we went. we ran into joanns at 8:45, and manages to scoop up a whole bunch of cotton prints at 60% off. very good score! unfortunately, i'm definitely feeling it today...

in other news, i did sew myself a hoodie last week, actually to test the pattern for my halloween hoodie, and i've been wearing it constantly ever since, it's so cozy and warm. nice thick black sweatshirt fleece, mmm! it was the first item of clothing i'd sewn myself in over a year, sadly enough!

i'm really behind on my IYP package for gingerquilts, unfortunately. i planned out my month pretty well, first finishing the halloween atcs, the altoid tin and the whimsie swap, then my halloween costume, and then i intended to make everything for the package, but instead i've spent pretty much the whole last week sleeping. blegh. i need to learn to plan sick days into my schedule!

as well, jean from craftster had a baby! Camden Blake was born on october 28th, so i need to get cracking on crafting for him too! we're all very excited, as this is the second mod baby, and there are two more on their way, and possibly more after them! honestly, people have to stop breeding or i'm never going to get any other crafting done!

so that's my update! i also realized the other day that i'd never gotten around to posting the pewter casting i did last summer, so i still want to do that as well! i'm going away next week, but i'm hoping to be all updated before i go!

update post 4! halloween atcs!

this is the fourth update post of the day, so don't forget to scroll back and see some of the amazing things i've received lately, and the goodies i sent!

because i love both halloween AND atcs, i organized the halloween atc swap on craftster. when i organize swaps like this one, or like the no-paper atc swap, i set up groups of 3 or 4, and allow experienced swappers to join more than one group if they'd like. that lets people with less time available join even if they only want to send a few cards, and lets those of us who are slightly more obsessive send more.

i was in 3 groups (of course), sending and receiving 9 cards total, and i received some incredible atcs.

from a-roze
quoth the raven atc

from twiztidblood
gothic crosstitch atc

from rackycoo
racky halloween

from megan+mary
megan+mary halloween

from goatgoddess
goatgoddess halloween

from whatzudoin
whatzudoin halloween

from teddybearbones
teddybearbones halloween

from panthermoon
panthermoon halloween

and from qazicat
qazicat halloween

i had a lot of fun making the cards i sent, as you can imagine given the size of my stash!

sent to panthermoon
bat stamp is inkadinkadoo, bat and edges are embossed with black powder.

sent to a-roze
web and writing are inkadinkadoo stamps, image is from a crafty secrets heartwarming vintage collection journal note pad
web stamp from inkadinkadoo, embossed with black powder
(she got two because i sent them along with the altoid tin!)

sent to goatgoddess
image is from a crafty secrets heartwarming vintage collection journal notes pad, dresden spider web is from, black velvet rickrack and halloween brad

sent to racky
image is from a crafty secrets heartwarming vintage collection journal notes pad, star stamps are making memories, writing is cosmo cricket

sent to megan+mary
cat and spooky are embossed. stamps are both from micheals, no brand

sent to teddybearbones
skeleton and edges are embossed. skeleton stamp is cosmo cricket

sent to qazicat
pumpkin and edges are embossed. pumpkin stamp is cosmo cricket

sent to twiztidblood
black velvet rickrack and the image is from a crafty secrets heartwarming vintage collection journal notes pad

sent to whatzudoin
embossed bats, stamp from cosmo cricket, halloween brad

and since i made some extras, there were a few that weren't sent to anyone
spooky trees
glossy accents outlining the tree and birds on halloween scrapbooking paper. the spooky is a stamp, embossed with clear embossing powder.
witch is embossed, star is plastic confetti, trim is black velvet. witch stamp is making memories
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