Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Iron Craft #6: Peep, Peep, Peep!


Yay! I've been waiting all year for this challenge to come around again:

"It’s time for the one challenge theme we have every year, Peeps! Yes, we want you to use that iconic Easter candy for your inspiration this challenge. You can either make something with actual Peeps such as a diorama or you can make something inspired by Peeps (sorry, folks out of the US and Canada, you can only do the inspired by since Peeps aren’t for sale anyplace else)." (courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

I knew that it was going to be tricky to top (or even come close to) Peeptallica from last year. That was inspired.

After searching high and low for Peeps - remember that corn syrup is banned in Canada, so Peeps are contraband around here it seems.

I finally found the yellow chick Peeps, which actually worked alright for the project I had in mind this year:



Can you guess who these two are?

I'll give you a huge hint.



That's right! Introducing Two Broke Peeps.

I love the show Two Broke Peeps (based on the show Two Broke Girls).   



There's Max Peep who has a loud mouth and bakes yummy cupcakes.  Oh and has huge ... er.... melons. Yes, I stuffed a Peep's bra. I feel a little dirty about it. :P



 And there's Caroline Peep who used to be rich and has good business sense.  She wears her fancy necklace everywhere she goes - even work at the diner.



Hehehe... I had great fun putting these Peeps together.  I searched the entire house for my daughter's little cupcakes (that came with her My Little Pony) but couldn't find them anywhere to get a photo shoot with the Peeps :(

Oh well!  I nailed the diner uniforms anyway!

And of course the little girl wanted to play Peeps crafting as well, so she made two princess Peeps and insisted on modelling with them.  She ate the rest of the Peeps I gave her of course.  Yummy!






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To see all the other Iron Crafters and their adventures with the iconic Peeps this week, check out the Flickr Group.

PS: You can check out the CBS page for 2 Broke Girls here.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Weigh In Wednesday: Body Image

Maybe because it's been months and months of endless snow and gloom here in Winnipeg, or maybe it's just the after Christmas/waitingforanotherholiday blues, but I've been having some serious body image issues these past few weeks.

So I'm going to try something that I've seen somewhere (probably on Pinterest) to help make myself feel better and perhaps have a record to read back on when this happens to me next year in March and the next year and the next year as it always has done and probably will always do.

Forgive my weepy sentimentality for this post please.

I am going to list all the things that are bugging me about myself and try to find the positive in each and every irksome quality that I hate.

Here goes.....

1) I'm 166 lbs
Those lbs over there should remind me of the wonderful Christmas I spent with my family enjoying great food and cheer.
Those lbs over here should remind me of the fun times I had trying and then trying again to make the perfect spinach dip recipe - I totally nailed it!

2) The pimple on my forehead
That should remind me that my period is coming, and although that's not really a thing to celebrate in itself, it does represent my search for an alternative to store bought plastic period accessories that led me to making my own mama cloth, which then led me to the ability to help other women in their search (and make a few bucks!)

3) Those stretch marks on my thighs
They should remind me that I nurtured and gave birth to 2 wonderful children whom I wouldn't trade for two of the most perfect pre-stretch mark thighs in the world.

4) I'm 36 years old
I should remind myself that my life didn't exactly start with the grandest hopes of old age. Each year is one more year than I was supposed to have in the first place.

5) those crappy wrinkles on my face
They should remind me of the times I laughed so hard that I cried at all the crazy stunts Terry pulls (like cock pics - he knows what I'm talking about) or the silly stuff the kids do (like Laney putting the word "you" in front of every word - guitar is youtar, forgot is yougot to her and her poor friend Natasha is now Youtasha - weirdo!)

6) those nasty grey hairs poking out of my head
Those buggers should remind me that I got them when I was busy researching and fretting over the new lives I was bringing into the world, or the stress I was feeling while working on getting my dreams to become a reality.

7) my creaky body that pops and aches all winter
Two years ago I didn't even feel all that arthritis that was building up in my body because I didn't have the circulation to feel any of it.  With this new valve, my heart has shrunk down to normal size and I'm actually getting normal circulation for the first time in my life (which means I can actually feel other things that are awesome as well - *wink* *wink*)

Notice I didn't say my scars - cuz I've been dealing with that demon for so long that it's really become on non body issue with me.  Yay!

So that's me.

All the bad stuff.

All the good stuff.

Phew....

I do feel a bit better.




And also.... I got nice junk :P

Friday, 15 March 2013

Food Friday: Steak and Ale Pie

In honour of St. Paddy's day on the weekend, I thought I'd post up the recipe for Steak and Ale pie. 


Yum!

I'm on a bit of a pie kick lately, so you'll get the dessert pie that we had with this meal (key lime) posted in next week's Food Friday.

Ingredients:

- Cubed Beef Stew Meat
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 can pale ale (I recommend Alexander Keith's) or if you don't have kids that will balk at the taste, go for a tougher beer than a pale ale
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley
- 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (although Terry says I should reduce this and add peas and carrots as well - good idea!)
- 1 1/2 cups quartered mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 pasty for double crust pie
- you might need some beef broth or water to make more gravy depending on your preference

Method:
1. Place the beef stew meat and onion in a skillet and sear it good.  Then add ale and turn down the temperature. Simmer over low heat until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
3. Season the beef with garlic, parsley, Worchesershire cause, salt and pepper,  Mix in the potatoes and mushrooms. Cover and simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork - about 10 to 15 minutes.  Whisk a small amount of the sauce together with the flour in a small bowl, and stir into the beef.  Simmer until slightly thickened.  You can add some beef broth or water to make more gravy at this point if desired.




4. Fit one pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plaste. Spoon the hot beef mixture into the crust and top with the remaining pie crust. Cut slits in the top curst to vent steam and crimp the edges to seal them together.  As you can see in the photo I ended up with enough to make 2 pies! double yum!

5. Bake in pre-heated oven until the crust is golden brow and the gravy is bubbling - about 35-40 minutes.




MMmmmmm Perfect on a cold winter's evening.  Or for St. Paddy's Day (which might just be a cold winter's evening around these parts anyway).

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Student Loan Debt Free!


It is a great week!

Earlier this week, I made a phone call to Canada Student Loans Service Centre and had the operator transfer money out of my account to cover the rest of my student loan!

EEEEE!!!!!

No more of this.....




And a lot more of this....




I call my university degree a lousy piece of paper because I have yet to do anything with it.  Once I graduated from the University of Manitoba doctors told me that if I wanted to have kids, I had better get started.  So instead of a career, I got Logan and Lane (fair trade off if you ask me!).  But that meant that I had to suffer through 10 years of paying my student loan without the aid of a good job.

In fact, I've been a stay at home mom for the past 6 and a half years of paying off that loan. So I was paying the loan with my child benefit cheques.  One government department was paying the other for 6 years.  I lived on a budget of $76 per month in spending money unless of course I made a few extra bucks on Etsy :) It was hard to take the kids anywhere in the summertime or during days off. I was constantly worried about not having enough money to pay the $300 a month the student loan was worth. 

Of course Terry was a huge help.  Anytime I wanted to take the kids out and didn't have any budget for it, he kicked in. He also paid off my VISA when I needed to buy fabric or kids clothes and shoes.  And it was our tax refund (well basically his tax refund that finally put us in a position to get rid of this awful debt).  YAY! Best husband ever!!!! (and he's actually using his piece of paper to support us all).

Anyhoo... I'm happy!  So happy that I have been doing jazz hands all week (see above photo). 

Let's see what the coming years have in store for that lousy piece of paper shall we?


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Iron Craft #5: Green or "Green"


This week's challenge:

"For challenge #5 we are giving you a theme that can be taken in two ways, Green. You can do a project that uses the color green, perhaps even something for St. Patrick’s Day. Or you can think of the word green in the eco-friendly way and make something using something you might otherwise throw away or even something that helps you be more earth friendly." (Courtesy of Just Crafty Enough)

I was going to make a new spring coat for Logan - but I got sidetracked by potty training.

So I went with it and made some new potty trainers for Lane.

It took awhile to develop a pattern and get the sizing just right, but we finally came up with a "green" alternative to those awful plastic-y store bought pull ups.



I took all my experience sewing mama cloth (cloth pads and pantyliners) and converted it into trainers sewing.

These pinks ones were the first prototypes.



I experimented with different binding.  I like the lingerie binding a lot more, but it is expensive and not readily available.  In other words, it's OK for Laney's trainers, but not for the ones I put in the Tawny Bee shop. :)









 

 As with the mama cloth, I put 4 layers of absorbent bamboo along the centre. Lane and I did a test and it can hold about a half a cup of liquid before leaking through.  Damn! That stuff is absorbent, light, soft and has a natural anti-bacterial agent to it.  Perfect for these trainers.



After I finished sewing some for Lane, I started working on some for the shop.

 

And then more....

 

And more...

  

I even tried some made out of outgrown baby pajamas for an added "Green" component.  Yay!




 Phew!

I'll be sewing more of these to stock the shop full.  If you're interested in seeing the entire line of L'il Bee Trainers you can find them here.

Thank you to Iron Craft for kicking me in the butt this week and making me focus on the design and creation of these trainers.  I've been talking about getting down to work on these for months now and Iron Craft was definitely a good reminder to actually do it!

And wouldn't  you know, not one of these "green" trainers were made using green coloured fabric.  Oooops! hehehhe


To follow all of the Green or "Green" Iron Craft projects, check out the Flickr Group.



Friday, 8 March 2013

Food Friday: French Canadian Tortiere


Last night I decided to try something different for dinner.  Or rather, different for me, but something that Terry's mom used to make and that he's been bugging me to try out for awhile.  Actually terry would never really bug me to make anything.  He was going to make it himself, but didn't get around to it.

So I figured it out for him.

French Canadian Tortiere.

Or meat pie (as Terry family calls it).



Yum.

Rather than dumping a bunch of cooked meat in a pie shell and cooking it up together (as Terry said was the gist of his family's recipe) I decided to add some authentic spices and try to make it as close to French Canadian Tortiere as I could.

(**** Disclaimer: I've heard that an authentic tortiere would only contain ground pork, not a mix and there is some contention around what veggies if any should be added. No. 1 I don't like ground pork, so I needed to cut it with ground beef just as a personal preference.  No. 2 Add your own veggies and make it your own - that's what I say!******)

Ingredients:
- ground pork (whatever amount you have)
- ground beef (whatever amount you have) Remember we're filling a pie crust, so make sure you have enough for that, or fill the empty spot with veggies :)
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 9 inch pie crust (made from scratch or store bought - doesn't matter)

Method:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)
- In a skillet, combine pork, beef, onion, garlic, broth, salt, thyme, sage, pepper. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is cooked.
- Spoon the meat mixture into the pie crust. Please top crust over the mixture and pinch the edges to seal. Cut slits in the pie crust so steam can escape. cover the edges of the pie with strips of tin foil.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes, remove foil, and then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.






Enjoy!

Apparently this was a huge winner with my family (even though they spread Ketchup all over it which totally grossed me out).  Yay!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Macrame Monday: How To Heart Shaped Friendship Bracelets





For an Iron Craft challenge I figured out the pattern for heart shaped friendship bracelets using micro macrame.

Today I'll give you a sort of tutorial to show you how to make your own.


You can see that I found two colours with an alternating coloured pattern to work the easiest.

You might want to open your Chevron Friendship Bracelet tutorial (or download the handy handout that I posted last week).  The heart shaped pattern is based on this basic idea.

Instead of 3 colours, you will want to chose 2 colours that are contrasting.  The more different they are in colour, the more your hearts will stand out.



Instead of measuring 2 of each colour like for the Chevrons, you will measure 3 strands of each colour the same length as it says for the Chevrons.  Fold these over your pencil and knot them with an overhand knot.

If you want to add beads to your bracelets, then add a large bead at the top now.

There isn't really a good way to separate the strands.  Just make sure there are 3 strands of each colour on the left and right side.  Choose a colour to start with.  Use that colour to tie two rows of knots the same as you would for Chevrons.  So you're tying from the left into the centre, and then the right into the centre and then knotting the middle with the two thread you just used for a finished row.

After that you can follow this pattern:



The X's and O's represent your two colours.  I modified this pattern slightly by tying two solid rows at the beginning and end of each "panel."

Warning: You'll have to force the colours to tie where you want them.  Always try to grab the colour you need from the closest available thread in the row and pull it behind your work to the thread you are tying on.  Sometimes you will find that you need to switch colours and want to use the thread you just tied on - that's fine.

For example, you're tying three green threads for the top of the heart.  At the end of these 3 knots, you find that you just tied the green on a black thread.  You need that black thread to tie the next 2 knots for the top of the heart.  Use it.  It would be considered the closest available thread.



Don't worry, it'll make more sense once you get going.  I'm so sorry for being so confusing.  I tried 2 or 3 of these bracelets before I could figure it all out.  But now it works every time just fine.



After tying one heart panel, you can add a row of beads to separate the pattern.  Switch the colours and start tying with the one you used for your heart as background this time.  Keep alternating until you get your desired length.

Add a big bead on the bottom, tie it off and braid the tail into two strands.



Pretty aren't they?