Valentine’s Day – Crocheted Hearts

 Friday, February 04th, 2016

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Here is a little tutorial to learn how to crochet a small heart. I’m no crochet expert, but this hearts are super easy and quick to do using basic crochet stitches.

 

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Start with a magic loop/circle and chain 3 stitches.

Work 3 treble (or triple) crochets into the circle.

On same circle do 3 double crochets.

Chain 1. Do 1 treble and this will form the tip of the heart.

Now repeat everything you’ve done so far, but in reverse order (like a mirror) to form the other half of the heart.

 

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This tiny hearts are the perfect size for many uses, after a little practice they take me a few minutes start to finish. I crocheted a long chain (a little bit more than 2 yards) to make a garland, but they can also be use to embellish valentines cards and presents, or be attached into headbands, sewn into hats and many other accessories.

If you have a hard time following these instructions, there is many great video tutorials on the web that will help you understand better every step. Give them a try and have fun!

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Lavender Gift Bags

 Monday, February 1st, 2016

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February is here! Hard to believe we are already getting in the second month of the new year. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so here is a very simple gift idea.

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I sewed small bags out of cotton fabric (6 x 9 inches), filled up each one with a few scoops of lavender buds, and tide them up with transparent organdy ribbon.  I think they can make a nice little present for Valentine’s day for friends and teachers, I also made a few for my daughter.

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Besides keeping them in drawers, closets, bathrooms, etc, they can also be placed at your bedside or near a pillow for the sweetest bedtime aromatherapy.

You can buy lavender buds at any herb store, health food stores or online by the pound.

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Back To Business

 Saturday, January 23, 2016
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My ETSY shop is up and running again after the holidays!

I’m restocking my listing so here is a good chance for you to get this beautiful night light at 15% off discounted until February 20th!

Head up to my shop and check it out! There’s only just one left!

Scented Kindling

 Monday, January 18, 2016

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Up to now we had been lucky enough to have a mild winter, even the holidays were spent outdoors and wearing short sleeve shirts. But it looks like the cold has finally showed up and I’m glad because one of the things I enjoy the most during the winter months is to light a fire.

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Scented kindling makes our house smell deliciously and makes it feel even cozier. I normally use what I have on hand like rosemary, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, but you can also use other aromatic herbs like lavender, thyme, or mint which will spread an exquisite and soothing scent in your room.

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For the bundles you can use newspaper (I don’t have any as we normally read our daily news on line) instead I used some packaging paper that I’ve got from a store when I bought a few glass items.

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Simply layer your herbs together and add scrunched up paper to help it burn. Roll up and tie each end with natural jute or twine and place it on an unlit fire. Start your fire and enjoy!

It smells wonderfully.

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Last Minute Crafts

 Monday, December 14, 2015

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The holidays for me are the most crafting-inspiring-time of the year. Even when every single store is packed with tons and tons of stuff in every size, color, and material you can possibly imagine to decorate the dinner table, I really like making my own. Whereas if very busy I always try to find the time to “make” something.

This year I wanted to keep it simple and traditional with natural evergreen arborvitae leaves and a few pine cones, not too fussy and overloaded to minimize the mess and  the cleaning.

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A few days ago while roaming the floral section at the craft store I found small bundles of twigs that I used to make very simple little trees. To cut each piece I used a small hand pruner and then attached them to a longer branch with a glue gun. Then added a tiny star and tied a ribbon to decorate each plate at the table.

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I love to have candles on our table especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I normally use glass candle holders but this time I wanted to do something different.

With a few pieces of unfinished wood I came up with new candlesticks. These little wooden pieces come in bags of 10 each and in different thickness and sizes.

With wood glue I attached the dowel to a round base and a candle holder on the top. I also decorated the dowel with a couple of doll-pin stands and a star for a more “christmassy look”. Once dry I sanded them down and painted them with white acrylic paint in an egg shell finish.

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So there it is. I hope you like my last-minute crafts. I also hope you really have a wonderful time during the holidays.

I send my warmest thoughts and best wishes to all of you for the next year… to be healthy, happy and loved.

Happy Holidays!

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Wrapping Up

 Thursday, December 07, 2015

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So the time when we start to wrap up not only presents but also an entire year is suddenly here. Inevitably everything turns crazy and we get much busier than ever.

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Every year when December arrives I try to make an effort to not get caught in the madness of what the holidays have become. Although I’m not a religious person I celebrate this time of the year as an opportunity for reflection and giving.

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I love to decorate and transform our home into a ‘merry’ atmosphere, but I know it should not be about the decorations, the tree, the shopping, the glitter…. I feel that every year it gets tougher and tougher to fight against all the constant bombardment of the most commercialized holiday of the year.

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Ok, I’m not trying to be a “Debby Downer” here, but it feels silly to just follow the crowds and bring ourselves into madness. I am determine to slow down and cherish every single minute with my dear ones.

How are you doing? Are you caught in the holiday madness?

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Sewing Pillowcases

 Monday, September 13th, 2015

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This past weekend we had such lovely weather, sunny and cool – exactly as I like it.  We stayed awhile outside and caught up with some yard work, relieved that hot and humid summer days are finally over. 

I was also in the mood for sewing. I didn’t want to start any long and complicated project, just something quick and easy to make and finish in a few hours.

 

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Something that I really like sewing is pillow cases. It doesn’t require much time, thinking, or material. With just a few scraps of fabric in different patterns I was able to sew a few pillowcases for my daughter’s bed.

I bought a super soft muslin, finely woven yet durable (after pre-washing it I found it to be even softer than before) and combined it with small floral and other patterns I had in my fabric stash.
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With three yards of muslin I was able to make 4 pillowcases and then added the cuff piece to complete the right size of the pillow. Adding a cuff piece does take a little longer, but I think it looks really pretty and adds color!

I finished the pillowcases with french seams, so there are no raw edges, stray thread or any fraying. In this way they look neat and tidy inside and out.

 

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The possibilities are endless. I also added buttons in one of the cuffs and sewed two cases all in the same fabric print. Even old pillowcases can be recycle and embellish with any little bit of fabric.

I also have quite a few plain ones in king size that for sure will get a makeover very soon. Actually I think there is a lot of pillowcase making in my future.

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A Dresser For Legos

 Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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Legos… Do you know any kid that doesn’t enjoy putting together those tiny little pieces? My son played for years and literally hours until recently, when he decided to keep just a few of his favorite ones, and give away the rest of his collection to his sister.

I cannot tell you how surprised she was!  She could not believe that now she owned all those legos and that she would actually even be able to play with them, considering that all this time she had to “stay away” from them.

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Up to now the extra pieces were stored all inside one drawer. Now that we needed to move them out of my son’s bedroom, we decided to bring them down to our basement.

I knew he had a good amount of legos (obviously we were the ones buying them, and he also got so many as gifts) but I never imagined the quantity that has accumulated in the last few years.

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Evidently we needed to come up with a solution that would fit into the new space with plenty of storage. After checking in stores and on-line, I found a few possible options but either they were too formal, not the right size or color, or quite costly. 

 

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The best option was the Tarva drawer chest from Ikea. For the purpose, price and versatility this was perfect for us,  especially because it is sold untreated and I really like the idea of being able to refinish it in the way I wanted.

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I stained the top, sides, and legs, and for the front of each drawer I used the same paint color on the walls (Behr – creamy white). I also sprayed the original handles in gold paint just to match up with other details in the room. The process of organizing them by color took a while, but we did a little bit everyday and now it is much easier to find the pieces.

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I also installed a couple of shelves and placed a table and a few stools next to it. This part of our basement was not really used for anything and so I’m glad we designated it as a playing area.

As you see, there’s still a bit of a mess on the table but the good thing is that now everything has its own place and can easily go back inside the drawers.

To be fair though, our cat is the one making most of the mess, climbing on top, playing with the legos and knocking them down on the floor… but, that’s another story…

 

No Bake Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

.Friday, September 4th 2015

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My friend Laura is the best baker I have ever known. Every time we get together she amazes us with exquisite dessert, one better than the other. She would try a new recipe and it always turns out to be perfect.

Last night, when Laura came for dinner, I made dessert and obviously felt a little nervous about my basic skills in the baking department.

I thought that a raspberry lemon cheesecake was the perfect choice, mainly because there’s no baking involved so there was no chance for me to mess things up… and I swear they tasted heavenly!

If you want to give it a try here are the ingredients and the instructions:

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1- In a bowl mix together the graham cracker crumbs and 1 tbs of sugar and butter (melted)

2- Press the crumbs into the bottom of your serving dish to form a crust layer.

3- In another bowl mix the sugar and lemon zest together.

4- Add cream cheese and beat until smooth using an electric mixer. Then add lemon juice and vanilla. Mix until well blended then add in the raspberries.

5- Pour your mixture into your serving dish over the crust, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

6- As a final touch, add some raspberries and fragrant mint leaves.

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I used individual serving dishes, but this recipe can be adapted into a whole pie too (for example a 9-inch graham crackers crust would require to be chilled for 3 hours before serving) and instead of raspberries you can also use strawberries and blueberries as well.

This dessert is fresh, creamy and delicious and an excellent choice to enjoy on these final hot summer days before my favorite season of all arrives!

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Townmouse Pattern

 Wednesday, September 02nd, 2015

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When the lovely Kristine from Townmouse asked who would like to test the Adelaide Sundress pattern I immediately “put my hand up” and offered to be part of the testing team. 

I already had the opportunity to sew the Isabella Flutter Sleeve top  and I loved it. I had never work with downloadable PDF patterns before and was a little nervous, but now I find it so convenient and easy to be able to start sewing right away after just one click from her Townmouse Etsy shop

 

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I truly love this dress. Isn’t adorable? I couldn’t decide which color fabric to use, but knew it would look beautiful in any one I chose.

In the end I opted for blue only because of course, her first choice is always pink. Even so, she is very happy with her new dress.  

 

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I also love the fact that there are no tricky zippers or closures to sew, I really-really hate sewing zippers (most of the time I find myself having to unstitch them a least a couple of times before they’re sewed the way they’re suppose to be sewn).

Kristine will also adapt this dress pattern to make a top.  Too bad it won’t come in my size!

The Adelaide sundress pattern goes from the sizes 1 to 10 and it’s available right now as a downloadable PDF Pattern.  There’s a 10% off discount on any purchases valid until the end of September on the Townmouse Etsy Shop.

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