Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Blessings,
 
TeaMouse

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Ruffled Scarf for me!

 This yarn isn't the most fun to knit with, but it knits up quick and the end result is worth it. This is the fourth one I made, and finally one for me, yay!

What I learned is that knitting with circular needles helps as the yarn is just loops on a big ribbon and tends to slip off easily, but watching a friend knit one the other day at bible study, I learned an even better way to prevent slipping, larger needles.

I didn't end up using the needles pictured up top, I found some 12mm straight needles that did the trick quite well. Best of all no slipping and this meant I could start it yesterday at lunch and transport it home to finish up in the evening with no worry about losing stitches. This yarn always gets a bit wound up tight as you work with it, probably the only drawback that I can think of.

These make wonderful quick gifts for friends and family. I have another ball in pastel pinks/purples/yellow to knit next and this time I'm not dreading it as before I locked myself in my room and knit for as long as it took, probably a couple of hours or so.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Coloring Contest

Thanks to Nancy for the fun contest! I had a lot of fun coloring!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guilt Free Chocolate for Breakfast

 This is a must try recipe! It's so delicious!!! I whipped this batch up in no time, so easy. The egg white/sugar glaze gives the top a nice crunch while the inside remains nice and soft with ooey gooey chocolatey goodness.

The only thing I did different than the recipe calls for is to use mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I already had a bag open in the fridge from another recipe so it just made sense. I really liked it as there was a lot of chocolate in every bite. I also didn't have any buttermilk so I did the old substitute by adding 1/2 Tbsp of lemon juice to it and let it sit for a few minutes.

The end result is a delicious scone that anyone would enjoy!

You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Wrapping Fun

 Here is a bit of fun I've had with my Christmas wrapping so far. Some of the gifts were really fun to accessorize. I finally mastered the pom pom. Turns out I wasn't giving it as short enough of a hair cut.
It's amazing what you can do with some Kraft paper and some dollar store items.

The top left one I thought was especially cute to put under the tree, I had some stamps at work that I thought made it look unique.


 Surprisingly you don't need a lot of extra things to decorate the parcel. I used leftover pom pom strings and ribbon to thread on the adornments using a darning needle, it worked great. Then I use the ribbons to tie them on, voila, so easy.

This makes wrapping less of a chore and more of a craft to enjoy.
 A paper doily, some ribbon and a bow, too easy.
 This little gift is for my niece and nephew with a bouquet of lollipops!
 This one is really simple, purple tissue paper, pink yarn and a pink pom pom. For my niece who like me, has a birthday very close to Christmas.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Craft Sale Find

 My friend and our dd's went to a local annual craft sale - Our Best To You.

I didn't think I would end up buying anything, and then I saw this angel. I was actually on a mission that day to pick one up on sale at Zeller's. Well one look at these handmade angel tree toppers and I was quickly re-thinking my purchase of a manufactured in china tree topper. She was actually only a few dollars more than the sale price of the tree topper I was going to purchase. I can't wait to put her on our tree this Sunday!

Here is a spoon ring, a ring made out of an old silver spoon. I love these. I actually had one gifted to me a few years back from my sister, that one has sunflowers on the front. What a neat idea.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Preparations

I know it's been so long since I posted, I must get back in the swing of things.

I've been busy baking and decorating the house. I want to have a stress free Advent.

Homemade butter tarts - a family favorite. I tried a new recipe this year from All Recipes and the filling is so delicious!
 Whipped shortbread, literally melts in your mouth!
 Amazing Gingersnaps - I'll post the recipe below. The nice thing is they crackle like they're supposed to, leave them out so they get nice and hard like a good gingersnap should be.
Easy decorating idea, mason jar, epsom salts and tea lights as well as a bit of ribbon if you like.
These are recycled mason jars from Classico sauces, a great size. I put the Epsom salts in the bottom and use a pair of tongs to drop the tea light in, wrap a bit of ribbon around the rim and you have a nice festive candle holder for a really reasonable price.





Amazing Gingersnaps
3/4 cup hard margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup fancy (mild) molasses
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp.salt
1/4 cup sugar

Cream margarine and first amount of sugar together in a large bowl. Add egg. Beat well. Add molasses, beat until smooth.

Combine next 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add to margarine mixture in 2 additions, mixing well after each addition, until no dry flour remains. Roll into 1" balls. Roll each ball into the second amount of sugar until coated. Arrange 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until firm. Cool on wire racks.
Yield: Approx 7 1/2 dozen.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

August

August was my four week holiday with my DH. Due to the fact that we have some reno's scheduled in the Fall we had a staycation. It was relatively relaxing. It's nice to wake up and decide what to do for the day. We just had a lot of 'us' time. It was wonderful.

Our vacation started with us redoing the master bedroom. Our daughter had it for the last 6 years. It went from a teen angst facebook wall kinda  room to a tranquil space that I call my beach room. It's still a wip as part of our reno includes laminate floor in that room and new baseboards and a new door, I will post before and after pictures when the project is complete.

We went looking for new bedroom furniture and instead ended up with selecting some new living room furniture, oops! It is made to order so hopefully we'll have it mid September. I went way out of my comfort zone with this. Considering all our previous furniture has been shades of brown and taupes you won't believe it when I post pictures!

On the last week of holiday's our dog Piper was due for her vaccinations, that morning she was on the deck with my DH and she decided to eat a wasp. She won, but she had the swollen cheek to show for it, instead the vet gave her a shot of antihistamine and she was rebooked. A couple of days later I decided to make a no-knead oatmeal bread. Normally I put it in the oven straight away to rise. This recipe however had suggested to heat the oven up and then turn it off. Well, when it was time to put the dough in the oven was too hot. I had it sitting on the stove covered in a damp tea towel. I was off to knit and DH was sitting with the dogs. He popped in to talk with me for a few minutes. We both came out together and that's when I saw the damp tea towel on the floor, this had me a little confused. Then I saw the empty bowl on the stove. Our darling Piper had eaten an entire bowl of raw dough! Talk about panic. A quick call to the vet and we were desperately trying to get her to vomit! Just when we had given up hope of being able to do it on our own she was being whisked away to the vet. A few steps in the garage and she dug her paws in and wouldn't budge, yes it all came out a whole two loaves worth! It was so scary, before she got rid of it you could see her stomach expanding! This is no joke. Later when she did see the vet for her regular visit where they've aptly named her the 'dough dog' the vet said the biggest concern is the alcohol that builds up as the dough grows in an enclosed space, a dog can suffer from alcohol poisoning. Thankfully she's ok, but I'll never leave dough rising again on the counter. Having Oliver a beagle, I never had to worry about things that were counter height.

I knit like crazy. I had been asked to knit some tea cozies for a local tea shoppe. I started and finished a total of 10 since April, most of them were done in the summer months. So I bid farewell to tea cozy knitting for just a bit. I still want to make myself one in red/white but for now I'm doing a little wrap for my niece for Christmas and I'm finishing a shawl I started awhile back a nice go to basic black ripple shawl for me, using Dream in Color Starry in Black Pearl. I am looking forward to wearing it at Christmas.

That's the summer here, now that it's coming to a close I'm looking forward to a nice Autumn.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Go Crazy - Live life to its fullest!

Sometimes you have to just 'go crazy' after all life is short and you only live once.
What kinds of crazy things have you wanted to do but have put off for fear of what someone will say? I've decided to go a little crazy over my 4 week vacation from work. This is Manic Panic vegan semi-permanent hair colour, the colour, Hot Hot Pink. On me it looks more Magenta. I still love it!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A Bread Recipe you must try!


My sister gave me the link to this Artisan Crusty Bread recipe, since are not only knitsters but breadsters as well, I totally trust her opinion on bread.

I wasn't sure what to do as I don't have a Le Creuset dish, or plan on buying one in the near future. I do have a 3.5 qt. KitchenAid casserole dish with lid. I just happen to browse Canadian Tire's flyer and lo and behold they had the 6.5 qt. KitchenAid Dutch Oven on sale for $69.99 regular $199.99. I knew I had to have it. I had received a MasterCard gift card for my birthday, way back in Decermber. For some reason I hadn't found anything I wanted to use it for, now I know why. My first batch didn't turn out as good, I think I had too much water. I was concerned it was because I had used the large Dutch Oven. With my second batch I used the 3.5 qt and it worked great. If you have a 3.5 qt covered casserole you can go ahead and use it instead of buying another pot, unless you want to of course :)!


For the first loaf I followed the recipe to a 't', but I like to mix it up and both DH and I prefer multi-grain and whole wheat breads.

In my second batch, shown here I substituted 1/2 cup of the white flour with 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup 7 grain cereal(Red River).

I'm pleased to say the results were great, we both love this loaf even more than the first. We do also prefer a soft crust so I did cool the bread covered, and that takes care of any crispy crust, if you like it crispy don't cover it until it cools.

Go over to Janet's and try it for yourself.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day



 I had found a link to a great everyday cake, but while I was there I saw this beauty and I knew I had to make it! I love lemon cake, this one is so moist and delicious.

So far our Canada Day long weekend is really warm, but that hasn't stopped me from baking this lovely treat and starting a loaf of bread, I'll post about that tomorrow.

In the meantime check out Smitten Kitchen's Lemon Yogurt Loaf to make your own treat.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Homemade Iced Tea

We love homemade iced tea, so much better than the pre-packaged mixes. This is one of my new favorites - Peach Infused Iced Tea. I love Peach flavored iced teas. To make a 3l jug follow the instructions below, switch it up a bit with different fruit tea infusions, I think this would be great with any citrus, mint or berry teas.

What you Need
10 tea bags
3 l of water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
Sunshine


*On a hot day fill a jug with 10 tea bags and water, place a lid on it and set it out in the sun to steep, yes it really works! You can also steep it overnight on the counter, but I like letting the sun steep my tea.

To sweeten 3 litres of iced tea take 3/4 cups of sugar and stir in 3/4 cups boiling water to make a simple syrup.

To infuse the tea with fruit tea flavoring, steep a cup of water with triple strength of fruit tea, this can be bagged or loose tea. I used a loose tea called Peach Dream. Steep for about 5 minutes. Add this to the jug of iced tea. Serve over ice.

Store on the counter, keeps for two days. If it's refrigerated the tea will be cloudy.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mason 'to-go' Jar

A few weeks ago a FB friend had a photo of a lovely Ball Jar to-go glass, I fell in love. I searched, scoured but could not find anywhere online that sold this baby! I was just thinking I wouldn't find it and I stumbled upon a blog - I'm embarassed to say I can't remember where, but she had her own how-to. Today at Wal-Mart I picked up a dozen Bernadin Single Mouth 1L jars, and 8 of the plastic screw on lids. I brought it home to my DH who promptly went to the garage and drilled an 11/32 hole into the plastic lid, voila! I now have a to-go Mason Jar! For me this is a rare treat, you see I'm one of the rare people who finds the taste of drinking from a plastic cup to be less than pleasurable, to me the plastic definitely affects the taste of the beverage. I had picked up an insulated travel mug with a straw, used it once and vowed to never bother again. Some people think I'm crazy, but I definitely can tell a difference. So I will enjoy the summer drinking my iced tea or lemonade in the backyard or wherever, no bugs can fly in and I will not have to settle on taste in favor of functionality. Try making them yourself, they are drastically cheap in comparison. I got 12 jars for $10 and 8 lids for $2, so for a little over $1for a jar isn't too bad. Keep some of the plastic lids hole free, this way you can travel to your destination without any worry of spilling your cool beverage.

The only thing I couldn't find were reusable straws - or even longer straws would work. Enjoy! And if this is your idea, I'd love to credit it you for it - I'm in love with this and you have totally improved my summer beverages :D

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Long Weekend Relaxation

I took advantage of our nice long weekend to finally do one of my favorite things, 'backyard knitting'. Here is the start of a shawl for me. I started it with one skein but soon realized I'd need another, thankfully that arrived in the mail yesterday from Eat Sleep Knit. I love the look of feather and fan and it's a very nice relaxing knit. Sometimes you just need that!

Life can be stressful and tough enough, knitting should be fun and relaxing.

I found these cute traveling mugs, change the wording to 'tea' and they are perfect. I created a 'wishlist' on Pinterest, maybe Santa will take note.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Out of Hiding

 Life has been busy, work is just starting to slow down now, but now my boss is away so there is a bit more responsibility. I've been knitting tea cozies for a local tea shop and I'm very pleased with the results. I thought I'd show you a few of the cozies and one of my other recent FO's.

I also decided to finish a couple of UFO's, the second picture of the Boneyard Shawl was on my needles since last August! Part way through I got really discouraged with the project and it was set aside. I've decided to try and get these out of the way before starting new projects. My DD saw this on the needles and really liked it so it was gifted to her for her 19th birthday.

On my needles now is a Lace 1, 2, 3, Andean Treasure Shawl. I'm using Dream in Color Starry in Black Pearl. I've wanted a nice black shawl as long as I can remember, but for some reason I always put it off. As soon as I saw the starry yarn I knew I had to knit a shawl for myself with it, I love the extra bling.

I'm still plugging away at my Sampler afghan for my queen size bed, at times wondering if I've lost my mind. I've got 15 out of 56 squares done now so about 1/4 of the way there. After I knit a couple more squares I can sew together the first two rows. I plan to do this as I go so that the end finishing isn't so tedious. I think it's looking good. It doesn't seem like too much work yet, it's just like knitting a lot of dishcloths. Switching colours and pattern stitches keeps me from getting bored. And of course I always switch out on to another project if I find any boredom creeping in.

Next week DH and I are off for a nice romantic weekend for out 23rd wedding anniversary. We went to this luxurious hotel/spa a few years back. Life got us good and we were both sick with H1N1 during our stay there. We stuck it out but this time I want to really enjoy it, this place is so gorgeous. It is a mineral spa and the waters are so healing and great for the skin. We are checking into the honeymoon suite with a giant hottub/fireplace in the room. The best part is it's only a 45 minute drive from home. The dogs are booked for their puppy vacation and I've got someone to watch my office this Friday so we get another long weekend next weekend to rejuvenate. It's been a tough year and we both need this time away. The only knitting I'm taking is my lovely shawl for me, aptly named 'One Starry Night'.



Friday, March 23, 2012

A Beauty Breakthrough

First Rinse















Second Rinse




For me this is a revolutionary breakthrough. I am 42 and about 50-60% grey. I happen to be one of the growing number who is allergic to one of the toxins in hair dye which is PPD. After doing research on PPD, I'm amazed it isn't a banned chemical. Considering my reaction is more on the tame side, it can cause death by anaphylaxis  shock. Some women experience their eye lids swelling shut and some get black circles around their eyes. Even if your reaction is serious itch, take it seriously as over time the reactions get worse. Initially I had a moderate itch and it got more and more serious. At the end I would get dry scaly patches on my head that itched and then flaked off and the cycle kept repeating to the point that even shampoo causes a reaction.

Aside from that the chemical is HARSH! The way hair dyes work is by first attacking the hair shaft to damage them so that the colour can penetrate inside. That is how permanent hair colour is achieved. This is such a harsh process that it causes hair follicle damage which results in hair loss. This is one of the leading causes of hair loss in women today.

Ok, off my bandwagon. I did discover something I can do to eliminate or reduce the look of my grey and it has been really successful for me. I discovered that if you rinse your hair with black caffeinated tea(the caffeine is to strengthen the hair and scalp and reduces hair loss) - that I can get some colour back in my grey hair naturally.

The first time I did the rinse I used what I had on hand at home I used 4 cups of water, placed in 3 chai tea bags and one herbal tea bag that had a red hue and 2 tsp of dried sage. I let it boil and then turned it off and let it steep for about an hour. After the the tea had cooled I wet my hair at the sink and then I began the process of pouring this over my head 15x in total. I had a bowl in the sink for the tea to go into and then my DH would pour it back into the pot and start again. After the fifteenth rinse I squeezed the excess water from my hair and put it up in a towel for 15 minutes, gave it a gentle rinse and let it dry naturally.

The following day I did not wash my hair, on the second day I washed and conditioned as normal. On the third day I did the process again but a bit differently. I brewed up 2 tsp of  the sage in a separate cup, I used a coffee filter to strain it and then I added this sage infused water to the pot, I added 4 cups of water and 5 black tea begs(Red Rose). I let it boil and let it simmer. Life got in the way and I wasn't able to rinse it that night. I put the mixture in the fridge and left it steep until the following evening. I warmed it up a bit on the stove before I began

I did the same amount of repeats of rinsing, although I put on MadMen and watched an entire episode before doing the final rinse and then I dried it with the blow dryer.

There is no doubt that there is a difference between the two rinses. I only wish I had taken a before picture of what it looked like before I did the first rinse. There was a big difference even with the first rinse, but now on the second one and I'm really liking the results. I find the rinse quite soothing, it is great for the scalp as it's an astringent. This keeps the excess oils off your head and prevents hair loss and dandruff. I have eczema on my scalp from reactions to hair dye and it is beginning to help me clear that up.

If you don't need colour, you can do the rinse but eliminate the extra repeats. Just pour the tea on and wait a few moments and rinse off and wash/dry as normal.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sampler Aghan Project

I've decided after many years of procrastinating to knit an afghan for my queen size bed. I went over many pattern ideas in my head, from one piece ripples to log cabin. In the end I've decided on doing a variation of the LionBrand Sampler Throw. I had to modify it to get it to the right size so it meant adding extra rows and squares. The plan is an 7 x 8 afghan of 9"inch squares.

Today I'm on square #6, it's going really smoothly so far. I decided on Red Heart Soft. The yarn is quite soft and remarkably nice for acrylic and the price was right! I got them on sale at Michaels 2/$7 - 50% off.

So far I have 6 of the eight patterns selected for the squares:
Basketweave
Seed
Single Chevron
Trinity
Garter
Harris Tweed


The colours
Trinity Stitch
I want to have a variety of textures along with colours. I'm not overly stoked about seaming it up, but I think the end result will be worth it. Here is a picture of the progress of my Trinity Square in Teal and a picture of the colours of yarn I selected(there is a huge bag of the rest in my closet...lol).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I made my DH one of his favorite treats, Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Cream icing. I got the tiny little heart shakers from Michael's, it gives them that special Valentine's touch.
I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

My Ravelversary

I was just updating my Ravelry with some new projects and I realized that today is my Four year anniversary of being a member. As I look back at my projects I see a lot of growth, things I never thought I'd knit from sweaters to Christmas stockings. It has also drawn my sister and I closer together as we discovered new projects and did a few KAL's! I couldn't imagine not having Ravelry, it's such a great site. I love that I can search by the yarn I have and see what people have done with it and seeing different yarn ideas for projects.

It's been a memorable four years, I wonder what I will learn in the next four years!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Time for Tea

 So I've been on a 'Tea Cozy' kick. I decided to embellish them with crochet/knit flowers rather than the usual pom pom. I got the idea because I simply do not make good pom pom's or fringe! Thankfully I really dislike both, so I don't ever feel the need to make them.

I just finished another scarf, a prayer shawl is on the needles and I'm about to cast on for a California Poppy Tea Cozy next.

I decided these cozies were too special for acrylic so I ordered a bunch of Cascade 220 from www.wool-tyme.com, and I've got enough to make another six cozies!

This is the pleated tea cozy pattern from Patons, in case yo u are interested.