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31  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Gluten Free start to the day - pancakes and waffles! on: May 19, 2017 07:17:56 AM
I love waffles... and pancakes.  We normally do a savoury breakfast when Jim and I have breakfast together.  Otherwise I do overnight oatmeal, sexied up with fruit and Greek yogurt.  But every once in a while I LOVE a sweet breakfast.  Because Jim is Celiac's I have had to abandon my usual favourite recipes (at least when he is around), and try gluten free versions and these ones were pretty good so I thought I would share them!

First is a gluten free pancake - it was light, fluffy, tender.  Even though Jim is not as big of a fan of the sweet breakfast - he did enjoy these.  So did the dog when I gave him a little one... but then again, he is a dog (licks butts, eats poop, and all that) - so his opinion is less relevant...

Recipe link here.  On of the keys was to separate the egg white and yolk, and to beat the white.

Here are the waffles I made - clickity for the link to the recipe - the funny thing is that my usual go to recipe uses beaten whites for lift and air - and this one did not - rather opposite for both recipes than what I am used to.

I used Robin Hood brand GF flour blend (a Canadian brand that is available nation-wide), which does have xanthan gum, versus gum-free blends, so that could make a difference in texture.  On saying that, measure by weight as there are so many different blend recipes/brands.
32  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Getting ready for summer - Thai Ginger Iced Tea... on: April 23, 2017 06:12:43 AM
I had this the other day when out for dinner with a friend and had to make it at home...  it's very refreshing and I hope to make more of it for the summer!  I may need to invest in one of those big juice dispensers!

Thai Ginger Iced Tea
serves 6-8

2-4 inch knob of fresh ginger
2 stalks lemongrass
3 cups water
1 cup sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
4-5 rounded tsp black tea
6 cups water
Sliced lemons/limes (optional)

Make a flavoured simple syrup with the sugar, water, lemongrass, and ginger.  Make a pitcher of black tea, and combine with the flavoured syrup, and serve with the lemon/lime slices if desired, on ice.

More details on the blog if anyone is interested....
33  COOKING / Dessert / Tippler's Chocolate Mousse Cake - gluten-free on: February 26, 2017 03:03:44 PM
I'm making a very traditional Sunday dinner today for Jim - roast beef, mashed potatoes, a token green thing, and dessert.  I was torn between two different types that I thought he would like, and kind of did a mash up...

I'm calling it a Tippler's Chocolate Mousse Cake - linkity to the full recipe/instructions if anyone is interested.  I did not put full bit here because I have a tonne of progress shots on the blog, but here are the ingredients

Tippler's Mousse Cake
serves 10-12

6 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp unflavoured gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
1 1/2 cups cold 35% cream
1/2 cup liqueur (Bailey's. Sheridan's, Kahlua)
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp butter
1/2 cup 35% cream

It was going to be Bailey's, however it turned out that we drank all the Baileys when we had friends over a couple of weeks ago (*** hic ***).  However, I did have some Sheridan's - a lovely creamy coffee liqueur that I highly recommend if anyone has never tried it.  You can substitute any delicious liqueur - like Kahlua, Amarula, Godivas, or anything like that.

But it has a nice thick flourless chocolate cake, then the mousse layer, and topping of chocolate ganache.

If you don't want to put a boozy ingredient in, you can leave it out - or experiment with a flavoured syrup instead, and cut some of the sugar out.

It is super rich and fudgy - would be fantastic served with coffee or tea.

34  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Steampunk sniffle buster... on: January 27, 2017 10:30:25 AM

I made this recently, after having a cheap, bare wood tissue box holder for a few years.  I bought it from the dollar store with the intention of decorating it, but left it for awhile before getting to it after the new year.  I wanted something very different from the sakura set I made two years ago.

I went at it with some printed paper modpodged to the base, and then various layers of stenciled gel medium, layers of acrylic paints, die cut and painted gears, and then a bit more layers of paint to pick out some texture and detail.

More on my blog with more pics and details if anyone is interested.

I had a "D'oh" moment the other day too, when I showed Jim.  I had removed the tissues from the cardboard box in the years of using these wood boxes.  Jim just opened and popped the whole box in... it works so much better that way.  I never knew the entire box of tissues fit inside!  Way to make stupid extra work for myself!
35  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / It's was Spaw night... on: January 27, 2017 10:20:34 AM
Troy got a padicure last night...

I reused small tea tins for the packaging, but could not resist adding some washi tape and handmade labels.  The three smaller tins are being given away to family and friends with dogs to try too.

I used the AKC recipe for paw balm, using the oils I had on hand.  It made for soft balm.

Troy was pretty patient with me putting on the balm, then Jim followed up with a nail trim - not a great night for the dog - he's not so fond of padicures - the paw massage OK - the clipping - not so much.  But he got a treat or two afterwards to ease his troubled soul (or is that soles?)

Little does he know, but it will stop his paws from getting chaffed, chapped, and cracked from the frozen, salt and sand covered sidewalks!

More pics on my blog and also the basic recipe I used.
36  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / How do you organize your craft supplies??? on: January 23, 2017 01:35:55 PM
I am lucky enough to have a craft room for a few years, but it is becoming a hoarder's mess.  I have a big pile of yarn that needs to be organized down in the basement - a lot of donations from a friend who had parent who loved to knit pass away, as well as my own impulse buys.  I had been keeping thin dies and cling stamps in binders, but find that is not a good thing for me anymore so they are going into thin folders in a narrow drawer unit.  I have my bigger dies on CD shelves, and  my thin dies on magnet sheets in thin folders.  But I am finding that I am probably going to have to have a binder with pictures and categories, or something like that, to keep track of what kind of stamps and dies I have so that I can go through what I have more easily.  Then there is the beads, fabrics, findings, markers, pencils, tools, embossing powder, glitter, paints, etc, etc, etc....  I am very lucky to have a large work surface, but it right now is home to a huge paper cutter, and various tool caddies for tools I use frequently, and so many other things I do use frequently, like the baby wipe dispenser.

I am lucky enough to have Jim building me another shelf unit - that will force me to clean up a bit and reorganize.  But I am seriously thinking of how to do that effectively.

So I would love to hear other people's tips and tricks!
37  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Loki's paws... on: January 12, 2017 08:23:15 AM
Bunny1kenobi asked me to make some metal etched keychains for her to commemorate a pet who passed.  I know also what it is like to lose a loved fur-friend, so completely understand why she would want something with his paw on it.  I have two paw plaques of my two that passed.

She sent me the image of his paw and for a few months I thought on and off how to do it.  The image was so small, fine, and faint enough that I was not confident in the ability to print and transfer using P+P or photo paper.

Finally, I decided to just take the image, carve a stamp, and use that stamp to transfer onto metal to etch.  Also, I could then use a fine tipped marker to add some details if needed, by hand, but I left them very organic, as a paw would look, stepping onto the dirt or whatnot.

I made a couple of prototypes and showed them to Jim, along with the pic.  He seemed to think they were pretty good, so I sent the image to her, and got the go ahead, so I finally made and sent these to her before Christmas to share with her family.

I really hope they met her expectations.  More on my blog if anyone is interested.
38  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Advent Calendar... on: January 12, 2017 08:13:07 AM
I made this for the 12 days of Christmas swap last year - my partner posted a stocking advent and it had a nice country feel to it, using tea towels and white wool or felt.  I changed it up a bit, to use burlap and tea towels for more of that country feel.

I will say that burlap is a huge pain to sew.  This was a nicer craft burlap that I found at a sale at the Fabric Museum that did not fray as much - but still a pain with all the lint that came off it with the cutting and sewing.  But I like how it turned out.

I did not want the stockings to be too small to put a small gift into, so I gave a rather generous size, but still small.

I used mini clothes pins and handmade tags.

I wanted the tags to be durable, so they are die cut from thick chipboard, and card stock.  I stamped and decorated the card stock pieces, then glued them to the chipboard.  I then embossed the edges and each side with glittery embossing powder, and added eyelets for hanging with baker's twine.

They are not affixed to the stockings, so they can be moved around and used on other packages too, but are really thick and durable.  They are decorated on both sides, and each one different.  They were my art therapy during the US elections, because that was what was constantly on every news channel, and talk show I was watching that week - so a lot of detail went into them.

I hope my partner liked it and here is more about on my blog, with a tonne of pics if anyone is interested.
39  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Woodland creatures ornaments... on: January 12, 2017 08:00:56 AM
These ended up being my annual ornament for family - I made some for a swap, and then a set for SIL, MIL, and some aunts, and those friends I know put up a tree. 

I started by making a set for a swap and as I was making them, I realized I liked them and wanted to make a set for myself, then Jim said that his sister would like them too, and his mother... and then I ended up making probably something like 36 of them - serious hand cramp occurred...

Jim helped me by drilling the button holes and I painted the buttons blue and used them to hold the ribbon in with a dab of glue.  They are incredibly sturdy - fantastic for all the households with dogs and/or cats who are less than respectful of the tree (namely - all of ours). They are solid wood (?beech, oak or birch, not sure now), so a bit dense, so a smaller bulb shape works well.

They are finished with several (so many I lost count!) layers of satin finish polyurethane, so they have a nice soft shine to them.

Here are a couple of my favourites

They went really well with the bird ones I made before, on my own tree, and it was nice to see them, especially mixed in with some other ornaments we made in the past, on the trees of family and friends.

More on my blog if anyone is interested.
40  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / New Year - New Reindeer - wreaths that is... on: January 01, 2017 12:03:37 PM

I made these two new wreaths for winter decorations for the house, after getting the plywood bases on discount while shopping this week.  It's my first completed project for the new year!

They were originally chalkboard plywood pieces from Walmart - Boooooooooooooooring...

This took a lot of stages, and intensive glittering... but I am happy how they turned out.  Right now, the two of them were hanging out on my french doors in the hall, but they are double sided and will hopefully hang out in in my new bay windows next year - the bay windows Jim hopefully will put in this year that is.

Many more pics and more information of how I made them on my blog if anyone is interested...
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