Friday, January 18, 2013

Note to self: sensory trays look like litter boxes

Living with animals can really change your perspective on things. 

Take today for example, it never even dawned on me that the sensory tray my daughter was using last night that didn't get put away, would look like the perfect litter box to use while we were eating breakfast.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A couple completions and an WIP

My Mom and Dad made the drive of 3,000 km (approx. 1,800 miles) to spend some time at Christmas with us. During that time, at the very last minute, because that's the way my Mom and I roll, we got down to business and got some piecing done for a comfort quilt.

Now to finish to few extra blocks we decided we need and to cut the solid colour blocks.

Since my machine is setup in the dining room and I have a lot of sewing stuff to get accomplished before I make my daughters school uniform jumpers (waiting on fabric and pattern to arrive from the US that I ordered this past week), I decide to pick some low hanging fruit and get a couple easy projects done.

The first were a few small "piddle pads" for my daughter's car seat. We're in the process of toilet training, and while we've never had issues in the car, it's much easier to take a small thin pad up with us to clean than unhook the entire cover and bring that up to wash. She is only 2 after all. Mistakes will happen, I'm sure.

One side is PUL (the owl fabric) and the other is a soft flannel fabric, both picked out by my daughter, so she'll definitely like these when she sees them in the morning. I think we're going to keep two and send two to her friend Meghan who is also starting to toilet train now. I have more fabric so I can always make more for us if we need it.

I also broke down and hemmed a pair of my husbands jeans that have been languishing in my sewing nook for probably close to a year. I think my husband even forgot that we had purchased them for him. I tried a new-to-me method of hemming jeans I came across on Pinterest. You can check it out here:

And here's a picture of the results I achieved:

I'm not 100% happy with the results, but it was 85% easier than the way I learned when I worked at the alteration shop in my college days and the tutorial itself is well done with clear to follow steps and pictures.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stress-Free Cookies on Short Notice

Many people are shocked when they find out I have a daughter with severe allergies and I've had to make a lot of what we eat from scratch and have to bring food from home for my daughter 98% of the time. All this on top of the fact that I go to school part-time, I own and operate a growing business, and I'm the primary caretaker of my daughter. But food is important, so I've learned some survival tactics and I'm going to share some of them with you over this year. Maybe you don't have children with allergies, but this tip applies to any busy person out there who looks after food in the household.

Homemade cookies aren't hard. The secret is something my Aunt B. shared with me: most cookie recipes can be frozen. Take a cookie sheet, or sheets, and drop the cookies on the sheet and freeze for a few hours (or day if you forget like I often do) and then transfer into a freezer bag (we use washed out milk bags since they are free). The cookies don't have to be as far apart as when you're baking them, but they should be the same size. They just need to not touch each other on the cookie sheet while freezing. When you bake them, follow the oven temperature and time on the recipe and keep your eyes on them the first time cooking them from the freezer to get a feel for the right amount of additional time and note that on the upper corner of your recipe for next time. For example, my Betty Crocker oatmeal cookies take an extra two or so minutes.

My suggestion, is to pick a day or time when you have time to make cookies. I usually involve our two year old in the pouring and stirring process. Messy? Yes. But the look of pride on her face when we sit and have a cookie together is priceless. We bake 6 or so cookies for my family (more if we're planning on fattening the neighbours too), and then freeze the rest for next time. This works great because we really don't need a couple dozen cookies or whatever the recipe makes sitting around our house until we eat them up. If you are a parent of children with allergies, you can easily on short notice, without a lot of stress, whip up a few cookies your child can eat at what ever event you are going to. It's super easy to pop a couple frozen cookies in the oven while you're getting dressed and your house will smell great too!