Saturday, March 31, 2018

Snowless Saturday - Spring has arrived

According to the calendar, March 20 is the beginning of Spring but a day or two after, it started snowing here. After all the snow melting and the city started sweeping the streets with all the sand and dirt, the snow came back. Luckily it did not stay for a long time, it was gone the next day.  So I was thinking that the golf course will soon reopen.  Next thing you know, it started snowing again. OMG, are you kidding me?  OK, I should not complain because there are other places colder than here. Honestly, winter in Vernon is not that bad at all.  I mean, we live in the Okanagan and it is northern BC and our city is around the 50th parallel, so definitely we will have winter.  I seem to recall when I use to live in Yellowknife and our group traveled to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, we were given a certificate upon arrival at the airport. The certificate confirmed that we have crossed the 40th parallel.
Now that is even colder. Ooops, got side tracked.  This post is about Spring and Easter.  What am I sharing today are just photos of the area comparing how snow melted.  But I have a surprise for today. The quilted map of the USA is finally finished as well as the kitchen towel for my BFF.  Happy Easter to everyone.  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Testing Thursday - Name Brand versus No Name Brand

Since my bread making experience is still very new, I am learning new things each time I make something.  My latest experience is making cinnamon roll from scratch.  When my sister was visiting last October, she made this cinnamon roll that was so soft, moist and yummy.  I asked her for the recipe and she immediately told me where to look.  Of course I did not waste anytime since I was craving for something to snack for our after dinner.  It was going to take sometime so there was no lollygagging.   All the ingredients were lined up as well as all the bowls and measuring tools.  As I start to prep the yeast, I noticed that it didn't seem to bubble as it should according to the instructions. So I started a new one and this time it was doing a little.  I was a little hesitant because I was unsure of the yeast and that I might have killed it.  Anyway I did the rest of the measurement, made the dough, kneaded, etc. and placed dough in a bowl and waited.  After 45 minutes it did double the size so I was ready to add the cinnamon sugar plus pecan mixture.  I rolled the dough into a rectangular size, spread butter, the sugar mix and rolled it.  The next step was to cut and place in a tray and I make sure there were enough space in between rolls.  Now the waiting game begins.  Still a bit worried that it might not rise into the proper size. OMG, I check after the time was up and the rolls looked really good. Now it was time to bake them. It was in the oven for 25 minutes but it did not look lightly brown as I wanted it, so I left it in for a few more minutes (this was the mistake I made). It cooled for a few minutes and then I applied the glaze and it looked like a real cinnamon roll.  It was just OK as it was not as soft and moist like the one my sister made. It was good but not yummy.  The problem was not me, it was the flour that I used. It was not ROBIN HOOD, it was some no name brand.  Lesson learned. When making bread or anything with yeast, use only ROBIN HOOD.  Next week I will by trying again a different recipe but using Robin Hood and following the instructions exactly the way it is written. 

After baking waiting to be glazed.

With the glaze

Before baking.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tracery Tuesday - Back to embroidery

When my BFF told me how she loves the embroidered kitchen towels that I gave her a couple of years ago. This made me think of getting back to embroidering again.  I started shopping for towels and cannot find them at fabric stores or other store.  Of course when I ask Jeff to find some online, he immediately found some good deals and ordered for me.  Now I have them whenever I need to do a few for gifts.  My first project will be for Rose and I already have the designs for both towels.  The next one is for my BFF's daughter who lives in Vancouver.  She is moving to a new home in September and I thought it would be a perfect house warming gifts. Here's how I start these towel projects. The completed product will be posted if I finish it by the time this date comes, if not, the date of the post will be change to accommodate for the time to complete the embroidery.

First I search for a design online.

Next is getting the towel ready, basically ironing it flat.

Tracing the design on paper in order for me to retrace it to the towel and I personalized it by adding an initial.

Now the towel is ready for my embroidery. Sometimes picking thread colors gets tricky.
I ended up finishing this first as it has less design.  The one above is a bit more detailed will be next.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Freshness Friday - It's just so so good

There is nothing better than freshly baked bread.  I cannot stop bragging about this artisan bread that I found on Pinterest as it is really great and comes out the same each time.  Of course as long as you use the same type of flour.  This is what I found out recently.  When it was time for us to buy some bread flour, we saw this brand, Roger's Flour and it was pretty good priced so we bought a white and whole wheat bread flour.  After I ran out of my Robin hood white bread flour, I started using this Rogers brand.  I immediately notice the difference when I was mixing it and again the next day after it had risen.  The white bread flour that I used for my artisan bread came out almost the same as using the Robin Hood brand. But when it I used it to mix the white flour with my Robin hood multi grain flour, it seemed too dense and didn't seem to rise as much and wondered if it was a bit dry.  Anyway, we will find out when we take our first slice to see if in fact there was a difference.  There might be a better recipe when you make a multi grain artisan bread.  By the way I tried adding some seeds( poppy, sesame and sunflower) on my multi grain artisan bread.

Multi grain with variety of seeds artisan bread.

Just plain white artisan bread and still coming out perfect each time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Windy Wednesday - Not a good day for

It was a beautiful sunny day and we decided to go for a little drive last weekend and since it was such a clear sky, we could see from a distance a very colorful hot air balloon.  Obviously, it was not a very windy day, otherwise that balloon wouldn't not be up in the air.  Each time I see a hot air balloon it reminds me of my one and only time I had the opportunity to be in one.  It was a gift from a good friend of mine for my 40th birthday - a champagne hot air balloon for two.  For most of my family and friends they know that I am petrified of height. So why am doing this?  Well, it's one of those things you always wanted to do but afraid to.  But the opportunity was there and for those ones whose had the experience, they said, you have got to go.  I was living in Ottawa, Ontario then and it happened the middle of autumn. The leaves were changing and it was gorgeous.  The process is that they would call you early in the morning (if you choose the morning one) and let you know, if it is a go or not, this is after you pick the date.  We got the call that morning and was advised that it was a NO go due to the weather being overly windy.  I immediately thought it was a sign that I should not be doing this. So we scheduled for another day and this time, they called and it was a good morning to do it.  Well, it was scary but I would have never exchange the experience because it was truly amazing.  After you land, the champagne is waiting for you and a certificate.

That's pretty high, right

This is the part that they are almost getting ready to land.

See how neat it would be inside that basket.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Me Monday - I deserve it

When it comes to wanting something new, I would normally weigh all the pros and cons prior to buying it.  A few days ago, I mentioned to my hubby that it would nice to have a new ironing board cover.  The reason for this is that I have noticed that my iron was getting some sticky stuff on the bottom plate (the part that actually touches what you are ironing).  After Jeff cleaned it, it was doing it again.  That is when I realized that there are some hot glue residue that although very tiny, it was still causing some sticky stuff when iron is hot.  So Jeff suggested that I should replace the cover because it will keep happening.  If I remember it correctly, I have not changed the cover since my MIL gave me this ironing board shortly after I moved to San Jose.  I love this board because it is very sturdy and the padding is thick and it is a full size board.  The next time we went out shopping, I stopped by at Walmart and Jeff found a really nice and very simple ironing board cover.  He said, I deserve a new one because of the amount of ironing I do, both for sewing and for our clothes.  Jeff also helped me put the new cover back after I added some extra velcro to keep the cover snug.  If you remember from previous post, Jeff always says, "it does not take much to keep me happy".  

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Shamrock Saturday - Happy St. Patrick's

For the month of March, I replaced my garden flag with the St. Patrick's theme.  I only realized that I did not have anything for this month.  Shortly after Christmas, I decided to make one using all the leftover fabrics that I have and found some shamrock that we use to decorate our twig tree.  When we lived in San Jose, my MIL would make corned beef and cabbage and have green beer.  Usually her daughter from LA would also spend a few days with her.  This year we probably won't do anything and we probably won't check out any of the local bars.  So my flag outside is the most Happy St. Patrick's Day that I could do.  And to all my Irish friends, here's my favorite Irish blessing.

Image result for irish blessing

Image result for happy st patrick's day

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tweaking Thursday - No pattern sewing

Every now and then I like to try something that challenges my knowledge and experience in sewing. Last week I offered to sew pajama bottoms for my daughter and her hubby.  After they agreed, I immediately went to the fabric store to get my materials. Since they were not picky when it comes to pattern or design of fabric, they were open to anything even the fabrics that are on sale.  Lucky me, LOL, when I went to the store, there were a couple of designs that were appropriate and on sale. I immediately called my daughter to check if my picks would be approved. And I got two YES.  Of course I can't wait to start this project.  Although I did not use any pattern from the store, I used Jeff's pajama's for Mike's and used mine for my daughter.  But I was given their measurement, therefore I did all the adjustments that's needed and hopefully both PJs will fit like a glove or maybe just fit comfy.  I was a little hesitant at the beginning and made sure I measure twice and cut once (a popular expression I learned from Jeff's Dad).  Because I only bought enough fabric for this project, there was no room for error.  By the way, I recently made three weights that I can use to keep the materials in place when I am measuring and cutting. The fleece fabric was a left over from the NO-SEW blanket I did a couple of months ago.  To complete the PJs project, I shopped for a couple of simple t-shirts for their top and again I got lucky and bought some on sale.  Now when they visit us, they will have their new comfy PJ set waiting for them.

Pink is not my daughter's favorite color but it's ok as it is not for going out, just sleeping.

I thought this was perfect for my SIL because he loves to snowboard.

I love using these weights and although not too heavy (filled with rice), it's enough to keep fabric in place.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Misunderstood Monday - Biscuits?

When it comes to shopping for groceries and other stuff, we always go together as it is more fun doing it together.  But every now and again, Jeff needs certain items at Home Depot or Rona but he still ask if I would like to go with him.  There are times when I have nothing specific that I'm working on or finishing, I don't mind going and I do it more for the exercise, I walk around aisle by aisle until Jeff is ready to cash out.  One day, he said that he needs to go to Home Depot to buy some biscuits.  I was not really paying attention since I was concentrating on my painting, so I said, go ahead.  After a few minutes, I realized what he had said, and I thought it was odd that he is going to HD and get some biscuits.  I sort of shook my head and continued painting.  Later on, Jeff was back and I forgot to ask him what he got at HD.  A week later he was showing me some of the prep work he is doing for the shutters for our family room.  Guess what I saw?

These are inserts for in between the pieces of wood that he is putting together.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Stitching Saturday - Beginner's Quilt

Quilting is something I have never done because it looks too difficult and tedious.  But most of the quilted stuff I have seen are blankets which are big and heavy.  When we went to dinner at my neighbors a month ago, I saw some small hot plates (to protect the table surface) which she had made.  It looked really nice and seemed easy because it was a smaller scale.  So while cleaning my sewing area, I decided to check out how much left over fabric I have and if in fact I could make something out of it.  I started sorting the fabrics by their colors and sort of by pattern of the fabric.  Something caught my eye that I knew would be a good start to try it out.  The pattern of the fabric was lady bug and of course, there's only one lady I could think of, my MIL.  After cutting different size of pieces of fabric, arranging them by colors and design, back and forth, finally got the right positioning of each rectangular and square pieces.  Then I had to go to the fabric store to get some fabric for the reverse part of the place mat.  Here's my first one and the rest is history.  I ended up making 12 place mats and another set with some hot plates for a friend.  My favorite is the Canadian one, very patriotic but also perfect combination of design and colors.

For my MIL

My favorite

This set is for my friend and her family who lives in Vancouver.

These are combination of old and new, the reverse part is from our old placemats.

After cleaning all my leftover fabrics, I found a small ball of filler (batting) and I ended up with this.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Winter Wednesday - Warm house skirt

You are probably wondering what is a house skirt.  It is a skirt you were only and only inside the house.  It's kinda like a pajama but actually you can wear it during the day during the winter months.  I was at the fabric store last week and I stumble upon this very soft and comfy fleece remnant.  Since it was only $4.75 I decided to get it and figure out later what to do with it.  It so happen that the last few days it had been snowing and a little cold inside the house.  Although I can wear my sweat pants or leggings or jean, at times my legs would still be cold.  That's when I had the idea that I would make a long skirt so it covers my legs and use a comfy and soft fabric.  Guess what, I already had the perfect fabric.  It took me an hour and a half to cut the fabric and sew it.  Since it is a simple skirt, I did not need a pattern.  I measured my waist and hips and then ask Jeff to help me measure the length of the skirt.  It would have been quicker if I had just use an elastic for the waistline, but I opted for a zipper ($0.30) closure as I wanted to practice sewing zippers.  I added a ribbon for closure since I had it in my notion box.  So there, I was productive one afternoon and total cost of this warm house skirt - $5. Of course I can just ask Jeff to turn up the heat but actually it's already set to 20C or 68F, pretty warm, eh!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Storing Sunday - Recipe recall

After a while, each of the recipe for a coffee cake becomes so familiar.  Last week I tried two different recipes only because I wanted to make something from leftover cranberry sauce and canned jack fruit.  The first recipe I tried was the cranberry coffee cake.  Unfortunately I did not have enough sauce so I found a jar of my home made spiced plum jam.  When I combined the two, it was the perfect amount.  It was a very easy one bowl recipe.  I just dumped everything in our mixer and then transferred to a loaf pan which I lined with parchment paper, baked it for 55 minutes at 350F and comes out a nice moist coffee cake.  It was a perfect night to share with my neighbors so I sent Jeff to deliver a third of the loaf to a couple of homes.  One couple calls us now the Baking Goodies Fairies. LOL.  A couple of days later, I tried to make another coffee cake using my jack fruit (diced) and a small jar of my home made pineapple jam.  This time I did all the measurement by memory.  It was amazing what gets stored in certain parts of my brain.  It turned out great and this time I remember to take a photo.  In case you want to try it, I have added the recipe recall below the photos.  Enjoy.

Start to Preheat the oven at 350 F, then begin dumping the following ingredients in a mixing bowl, by the way if you don't have a mixer, using a whisk just works the same.  Place the batter in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper as shown above. Notice those clips I use, I learned that after watching a lot of episode of Martha Bakes.  Bake for 55 minutes and enjoy the very easy coffee cake.  You can use whatever fruit jam/sauce you have around.  So far both combination of fruit I used are awesome. It is more fun trying different combination and being creative using what is available from the fridge or your pantry.  Happy baking. 
  • One egg
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of fruit sauce or use half sauce half jam
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • If the batter looks dry, add 1/4 cup of citrus juice.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Threading Thursday - Needed a partner

While I was putting away some winter bed sheet set, I found another throw pillow that was inside the bench (storage) in the guest room.  Next thing I know, I am trying to decorate it so it can be a partner to the other throw pillow that is now on the bed.  These two burgundy pillows were from our living room couch in San Jose.  I brought it with us because I knew that I reuse it, maybe make new covers and add some buttons, etc.  So I started searching for something in the boxes of notions I have and sure enough, there was the perfect ribbon and buttons.  Here's what I had completed.  The other pillow is the one currently on the guest bed and this new partner pillow is on top of the bench. I just hope that the couple who will stay in the guest room does not use it for a pillow fight. That would be funny.