Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Here's the latest update!

Things are looking better out there. The lettuce has come and gone. Now the other plants are growing fast. We have a few tomatoes growing. Still green but there's enough summer heat left for them to ripen.

The lavender has been resuscitated from near death. It's amazing how many bees and butterflies it attracts.

There are tiny tiny cucumbers on this vine and plenty more flowers. It seems to gain an inch or three daily.

And here's a giant pot of lime basil and sweet basil. I spilled some parsley in there too. Oops. I'm harvesting it already.

The raspberries and currants are done. Now I'm still waiting for blueberries and grapes. There's jam in my future.

Surprised how much I'm enjoying gardening. Plants are like really low key pets. I haven't named them but it makes me smile when they grow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Recipe: Strawberry Papaya Popsicles

Happy Canada Day! In honour of the occasion we have appropriately red popsicles to nom.

These popsicles are even easier than the last batch. A little bit of rum to the mix, and then you'd have strawberry daiquiri on a stick! These are intensely strawberry flavoured, and my favourite so far.

Strawberry Papaya Popsicles

  • 1.5 cups strawberries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup papaya
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk beverage or cream or yogurt
  • Liquid sweetener to taste* ie. honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, simple syrup
  1. Add 2 tbsp of sugar to the fruit, mix, and leave in fridge to macerate for 24 hours.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a food processor or blender, then pour into moulds.
  3. Freeze one hour, add sticks, then freeze another 4 - 6 hours.
*I added 1/4 cup corn syrup because it has a neutral flavour. You may need more or less sweetener depending on the ripeness of your fruits. More sweetener also results in a less icy popsicle. You want it a little sweeter than you prefer because freezing dulls the sweetness.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Recipe: Mango Coconut Popsicles

Home made popsicles are my latest obsession. In part it's because they're so quick to make! If you can make a smoothie, you can make a popsicle.

In the height of laziness, I spooned in the mango, then coconut milk, then added more mango on top. I skipped waiting for layers to freeze! I like the way it looks all marbled and sunny. It's a tropical beach on a stick.

Mango Coconut Popsicles


  • 2 cups canned mango pulp (I used Kesar brand)*
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp water or coconut milk beverage
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • honey to taste
  1. Mix honey in mango pulp. Freezing dulls sweetness so a little extra helps.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix coconut milk, water, vanilla extract, and honey to taste.
  3. Pour half the mango pulp mix into your popsicle molds. 
  4. Pour the coconut mix into your molds on top of the mango pulp.
  5. Pour the rest of the mango pulp mix on top.
  6. Freeze one hour, insert sticks, and freeze at least 4 hours more.
* You can also throw fresh mango into your blender if you don't have pulp available, but it's extra work!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Garden Update

We've done some more planting and some of the seeds we planted have sprouted!

There's lettuce and if you look closely, some of the cucumber seeds have popped up near the trellis.

There are some tiny tomato and pepper plants beside the currant bush. Hopefully they'll grow fast enough so we can have a harvest this year.

We cut back the apple tree because it was neglected and diseased. It's doing much better this year. I was worried we wouldn't be able to revive it.

And the herbs have me most excited! Tiny oregano and thyme in the first planter. Tarragon and sage in the second.  Sadly I only see one sage sprout! I'm hoping the others are just slower to germinate. At least that's one?

And we planted an obscene amount of basil in 2 varieties. I'm not sure if those sprouts are basil or weeds though.

So far no sign of beans, zucchini, chives or parsley! Hope we didn't plant them too late.

Crafty Minute: Macrame Plant Hanger

I've got my hands full these days but had a hankering for a snack sized crafty episode. This plant hanger took about 10 minutes and assembly was nothing more than making a bunch of knots.

There are a plethora of tutorials for these online. Super simple! All you need at minimum is a potted plant and some rope or cord. I attached mine to a metal loop for easier hanging.

I always thought hanging planters like this were made for inside but I needed an outdoor solution because this poor plant wasn't happy where it was. It's still recovering but I think it will do better here and be less sad. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our Garden

I've been so excited to finally have a garden space! The weather warmed up so we planted some herbs, fruit, and vegetables. 

Here are shots before anything has sprouted.

Here are herb pots on the balcony. There's thyme, oregano, sage, and tarragon.

We planted some cucumber by the trellis.   We might plant some tomato when it's warmer.

This spot is a little shadier. There's pole beans, zucchini, parsley and chives. Two kinds of basil in the big pot.

I'll keep you updated on how it goes! My fingers are crossed that we'll have a good harvest this summer.

Armchair Slipcovers

This was the last sewing project I had on my list to do before baby arrived. Amazingly, the day after I finished sewing them, I ended up going into labor! 

The construction consisted of pinning and hoping for the best. I think they turned out alright! I used some faded old linen drapes for the fabric and like the way it matches the dining table set.

I've already got some splashes of soy sauce and baby drool on them so I'm glad to have them! I can just pop them in the wash without worrying.

Posts will be a little irregular for a while. We're still getting used to being parents for the first time! It's crazy, exhausting, but also a really wonderful thing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Recipe: Mom's Banana Bread

Confession time - I used to hate banana bread. It was the only dessert my mom knew how to bake, and I was allergic to most other fruits so it made regular appearances. Instead I dreamed of cheesecake and cookies.

Fast forward to today and I've got a new appreciation for the humble loaf. I've tried other recipes but mom's is hands down  the best. It's light, fluffy, not overly sweet, and comes out with a cracked domed crust. It's also practically fool proof. Trust me, I've made all kinds of substitutions and fumbled measurements or added extra bananas and it still always turns out good. Thanks mom!

Mom's Banana Bread
Makes one large or 2 small loaves (2 small ones in the photos above)

• 2 or 3 ripe bananas 
• 3/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk or 2/3 cup regular milk + 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 eggs
• 2/3 cup oil
• 2 2/3 cup flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• (optional) 1 cup chopped nuts


1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan.

2) Mix bananas, yogurt, eggs, and oiL.

3) Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl and add banana mixture to it. Add nuts.

4) Pour into prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes. Done when top is golden brown, cracked, and stick inserted comes out clean.

Go forth and use thine overripe bananas.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Matching Set

bagset (2)

Somehow I've ended up sewing a matching set of bags! They're all packed and ready for the hospital. One is for mom, one for dad, and one for baby.

bagset (1)

The first one I sewed was the canvas and denim duffle bag. It's the largest and heaviest of the three, because I wasn't sure how to make the bag bottom sturdy. I ended up using some old jeans and cotton batting to reinforce it, but with hindsight that was overkill, hard to sew through and heavy. It's still so useful. It's become our weekend trip bag of choice, and it fits almost all airline carry-on restrictions (which was the point). I'm glad the straps are sturdy canvas, because we usually stuff that thing full!

The second bag I sewed is the faux leather bottom tote. It's simple and zippered. It's my favourite bag, because it's lightweight, holds a lot of things, and doesn't take up too much space. It was my first time successfully sewing with faux leather, and I loved it. Faux leather sews up as smooth as butter, but it's a one shot deal because once you make holes they're there forever. I wasn't sure about the straps and just tacked them on. The strap angles aren't quite right, so the bag bunches a little if I wear it on my shoulder. Who knew that made a difference?! Lesson learned. I also messed up because I realized I needed an exterior pocket AFTER I finished sewing it. Consequently, there's only a tiny zippered pocket on the inside (it used to be bigger), because the stitching on the outside pocket goes through both the exterior and lining.

The last bag I sewed was the diaper bag / weekend bag. It has the most complicated shape of the three, has the most pockets, a leather bottom with purse feet, and an inset zipper. I didn't quite have enough faux leather for the straps, so they're quite thin, but I'll see how well they hold up. Maybe I should have added some padding inside them? But, so far so good.

3 bags, many lessons learned. All useful.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sew & Tell: Smiling Yeti

Softie 007

Isn't she a cutie? I found a pattern online and blew it up about 50% to make this softie. I'm kind of in love with her smiling face! I think it would have been better if I'd used fabric with a little stretch: fleece, or terry towel for extra fluff, but I didn't have any of those on hand so the cotton bunches a little. Still, the color combo is pretty, isn't it?

You can find a tutorial to make your own Kawaii Yeti Monster here.

SO many baby birthdays! This one is a gift too.