A little bit about everything


Meeting Annie Sloan

When you have an opportunity to meet someone or go somewhere special do you do it or just say na?  I usually say na especially if it’s going to be a small venue like a book signing or a meet and greet.  I just figure there is going to be so many people and how close am I going to get to that person anyway, will I actually get to say hello…blah blah blah..

Well in October I had an opportunity to meet Annie Sloan in Montreal at the opening of a new store, Piorra Maison.  However my partner in crafts and painting was not able to go with me.  This was one of those times that I would have said forget it.  I would have gone myself if she was coming to Ottawa but there was no way I was driving myself to Montreal!!!!  I thought about it for a few days and then thought why should I miss it, get out of your comfort zone and go!  So I called my husband and asked him if he would drive me there and find something to do for two hours.  He said yes.  So I was doing it,  I wasn’t sure how many other opportunities I would have had to meet her and she was coming so close home.

As time got closer plans changed for my girlfriend and we were now able to go together.  I was pretty excited.  Let’s face it who was I going to oh and ah with if she wasn’t there.  She meet me at my work and we took my car….I drove…yikes!  The drive there was great, it was the drive back that was a little nervy but a little more on that later.


We arrived in Montreal around 4 o’clock had a bite to eat and at 5:30 the doors to the open house opened.  The place was beautifully set up and decorated with many chalk painted pieces of furniture of course and different gift items.  One of the first pieces that caught my eye was this beautiful dresser.


Look at the details that popped so nicely with the stressing and I love the colour.


We headed to the back of the store where she had a display of painted pears done in Annie Sloan’s colours.  It was so dramatic on the black wall.


…and this beautiful display of appetizers with some great ideas for presentation using old wood windows.




here are a few different vignettes with everything displayed so beautifully.



oops, yes and there was wine.


loved these nesting tables and this table and tub chair done in Emperors Red.  This colour looks so good with the dark wax! Love it.



Seriously, this sofa is painted with chalk paint and she says it will hold up for many years.


and finally she arrived.  There was no screaming or pushing, you just turned around and there she was chatting with people and there was lots of picture-taking.


she then did a demonstration and answered a lot of questions.  She was personable and funny, telling us to paint everything in the house while our husbands were out!


There you go.  (as my girlfriend would say)  We left the boutique around 8 and headed back to Ottawa.  I got Pat to get out the GPS to help guide us back to the highway, even though she said she knew the way, it’s always nice to have back up ready. ( I think) As we were driving on the commuter lane she’s telling me  “you’re doing fine, you’re doing fine,   she could tell I was a little nervous.  I then realize I have to get over and as I do a quick shoulder check all I see is a speed way of cars and an 18 wheeler.  Everyone is going 110 kms at least and there is NO room for me to get in but my girlfriend isn’t saying anything except “you’re doing fine, just keep going”  and I’m like yelling “do I not have to get over“? and she sort of says yes but then continues to say  “you’re doing fine,  just keep going”  and the next thing I realize is I’m veering off to the right and I’m pretty sure I should have merged left.  So now I’m pointing to the GPS asking her if it is saying, re-planing route but she is not really answering me until we get to the light and I ask her again…”Was I not suppose to merge back there“? and she said “yes, but you were so nervous I didn’t want to say anything” so she just kept me going on the same road to get off and go all the way around in a big loop to attempt to get on again.  Thankfully it was at a different spot and the  merge went smoothly. What a GREAT friend!



Freezing peaches

I’m not even going to begin to explain why I haven’t written since, ah, February and I’m not even sure what brought me here this evening but I’m going to give it another shot.  You can’t even imagine how many pictures I have taken for “my blog”.  Anyway her we go.

I can say  that  it is still peach season because I still see Ontario peaches in the stores.  So I thought that I was still safe to be writing this post about how I bag peaches every fall.  Well I actually haven’t been doing it that long, just a few now.  A very nice woman in my life shared with me how she has been doing it for years and how come winter it will be so nice to take a bag out of the freezer for my grandchildren.  I am going to share it with you and if it’s not to late, maybe you will be freezing some peaches also.


First I start by making a simple syrup, 8 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, bring to a boil and let cool.  I actually made it the night before and put it in the fridge until I was ready the next day for pealing, cutting and bagging.


Next day when I was ready to stand on my feet I pealed the peaches and cut them in sections around the pit.  You don’t want to do too many at a time because then they sit in a bowl getting all squished and mushy.  I like to just peel a bit at a time.  Then for one cup of syrup you stir in 1 tsp of ascorbic acid, this keeps the peaches from turning brown.


Then scoop about 1 sometimes 2 cups of peaches into simple baggies and cover with some syrup.  You want the peaches to be covered.


I then twist tie them and stand them up into a casserole dish so that they are nice and tight in there so they don’t fall over and leak.  I put them in the freezer until frozen.



When that is done I remove them and run the dish under some hot water long enough for them to release from the dish.  I put a few bags into a bigger zip lock and put them back into the freezer to be enjoyed through the winter.  That’s it!

Now I know some of you will not like the baggy idea but if it’s not for you you can do the same thing into containers of your choosing.



Hanging of the ice wreathes

Well I’m back with the pictures.  They are not the best, daylight was leaving quicker than I thought, but here they are.




I had such a different picture in my head of what these would look like with the sun shining through.  Oh well, if they are still up on the weekend I’ll try taking some more pictures and we’ll see what they look like.

I see a photography course in my near future. ha


Something similar I made that I wanted to share with you.  I made these a few years ago to place outside the door with a candle in the centre.  With these I used a bucket, filling it with a little water, then add a smaller item filling it with rocks that are heavy enough to keep that item from floating.  I then added the berries and greenery.  I left the buckets outside over night.  The next day I brought them in the house ran a bit of hot water over it until it releases and out they pop.  Place outside with a candle and you can light up your walkway for Christmas.




Ice wreathes

I love the way these ice wreathes catch the ray of the sun making them sparkle.  With the days getting longer  I thought I could make a couple and still get to enjoy them each night out my two kitchen windows.  The next time my two little angels are here for a sleepover we will have to make a couple more.  Besides waiting for them to freeze, twice,  they are super easy and great fun for the kids.

First I started with two bundt pans filing them with water about 1/3 of the way.  I then placed them outside.  It was super cold and probably would be for the week.  I really wanted to pick up some frozen cranberries.  Well the week past, the days got warm and I kept forgetting to get my cranberries.


Today I am finishing them no-matter-what even if my frozen wreaths are melting by the minute. I cut a few pieces from my Christmas wreath, yes it’s still looks great!



I then cut up a couple of lemons I had.  I love the look of lemons, so bright and cheery.


I then added a few blueberries.


Then someone else got involved and added some cranberries and some cherries!  Top up with some more water.  With mine melting my ice gave a way and started floating to the top, I hope they turn out and look as pretty as they do now.   With the warm day they went into the freezer this time.

You’ll have to come back to see what they look like hung up outside.  Do you make any ice wreathes?  I would love to see them.

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Sandwich Cookies and Tea

A small note first, my eldest granddaughter has a dairy allergy so I have never made these with butter I have used Soy Margarine.  Everyone loves them!

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup finely ground almonds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup butter softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam or strawberry

Confectioners sugar

In a small bowl, combine flour , almonds and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Add flour mixture and mix only until incorporated.


Divide dough into 2 and press into small disks about 1 inch think.  Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350F.  On floured surface, roll out one disc of dough to 1/8″ thick (keep other disk in the fridge)  I have to say here that I did take some great pictures of each step and for some reason they did not get transferred to my computer and I deleted the pictures off the camera.  Ugh!

Cut half of the dough using a round cutter.  I happened to have one that made the ridge design.  Cut an equal number of rounds using the same cutter and then using your small heart cutter cut out the centre.  I also decided to save some of the heart cut outs rather than rolling it back into the dough.

Transfer the cookies to parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Dough scraps can be formed back into a disk and chilled again for 30 min.


Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.  This all depends on your oven and baking sheets.  I had to bake mine a little longer and the first set I did on an air bake sheet that took longer, the second on a dark cookie sheet, both still on the parchment paper but these ones cooked much faster, getting a little darker than I would have liked.

Cool the cookies completely and then spread the bottoms with the jam.  I  spooned my jam into a bowl and mixed it well with a spoon to warm it up a little and make it a little more spreadable.


Dust the tops with the confectioners sugar (icing sugar) and then sandwich them together.


Then have a tea party!



Valentine Pillow Case Tutorial

As promised,  I’m back to attempt to show and tell you how to make a pillow case.  Attempt being a very important word here.  I am by no means a seamstress.  I can make curtains and sew some craft items but I do not pretend to be able to sew.  So let’s just say this post is for all you no sewers out there.

I purchased 1 meter of each fabric but I think the next time I would get a little extra like 1 1/2 meters.


I then used a pillow case to measure out the size adding approximately 1″ for each of the open sides and 2 1/2″ for the top.  My open sides were one side and the bottom.


I allowed for a 2 1/2″ top,  2″ for the top and there is about 1/2″ folded under that, ironed down and then sewn, you can see that with the white stitching, this is so that it does not fray in the wash.  You can make a larger fold over at the top if you wish, it’s all preference.

I then sew my top portion first.


A note, if you have a surger… probably don’t need my tutorial HA)  you wouldn’t have to leave as much as the 1″ you can leave about 1/2″ and then surge all along to keep the ends from fraying.  If you don’t have a surfer I would leave the 1″ that allows you to fold over to 1/2″ and sew down along this line, that is after you press it all so that it stays folded.

On the top of my pillow cases I wanted to add a little extra.  Well actually I didn’t but I came across these beautiful little ribbons, 10 for $1 so that is what decided for me to add the ribbon.


When choosing your thread it’s best to lay a few across the item you are going to sew and pick one that seems to disappear in the fabric.  You would be surprised that it’s not always the lighter one.


I recently picked up this bag of thread at an estate sale, thinking what in the world am I going to do with all this thread, I don’t even sew!  but I tell ya, I have had the sewing machine out a few times and didn’t have to worry about whether or not I had a colour, I think I have just about every one here.  So I am very happy with my thread purchase.



When you get to the thicker ends it’s best if you turn the wheel by hand, with my machine anyway.  Maybe if I used a bigger needle it would have gone better, but turning it a bit by hand was fine.  You can see below that my tops don’t come together perfectly, but when it’s put on your pillow and you are dreaming of love, it really doesn’t matter.


Hope my first tutorial wasn’t too difficult to understand, I will get better……I think!   Tomorrow I will be back with the recipe to make the heart cookies.

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” Be Mine” “Hug Me” and “Forever”

On Valentines day if I am buying a gift for someone special it has to be Valentine related.  I just can’t buy some random gift.  It has to fall into one of the following categories; it has to be red or pink,  chocolate or flowers, if it’s a book, it has to be about love or Valentine Princesses and if it’s clothes it has to be red or pink or just be Valentine related.  You get my point…..maybe.

It can’t just be some random gift that you would buy say for a birthday.  That’s just my thing.  So putting together the girls gifts for Valentines this year I decided to make them pillow cases.

I only had two choices at the fabric store, the sweet hearts pattern with the cute sayings on them like  “Be Mine”  “Hug Me” and “Forever

Bonus for me was, one included the colour pink and the other orange.  Each of them their favourite colour.

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Also included were these lovely homemade cookies with seedless strawberry jam.   Today we visited them for a little tea party and I gave them their Valentine bag early.  I had included  a book each about Valentines and wanted them to enjoy it leading up to the special day.  It also included some chocolates and some tissues with pink hearts.

Tomorrow I will post a little tutorial on how to make a pillow case.  It’s pretty easy actually and the little ones will just love them.

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