braddishlife

A little bit about everything


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My simple Peppermint Wreath…saved for Valentines Day

One of the blogs I follow is Shaunna over at Perfectly Imperfect, if you want to be inspired check her blog out.

Back in December she posted a Simple Peppermint Wreath and it just caught my eye.  I sent it to my girlfriend and we decided it would be our craft item we would do together.  We usually do something that involves painting so this would be a nice change.  I’m not sure if I have said this before but I am not a creator, I am a copier.  More on that another day.

I headed out to buy my supplies, should be easy enough, I recognize those bags from Walmart (a True Value) I can pick up the wreath at Michaels,  red hots, should be easy enough to find a box of those…right?  Wrong on all counts.  First I went to Michaels,  this is 9 days before Christmas when everyone and their sister has been crafting so shelves are empty.  However it wouldn’t have mattered if there were  lots of wreaths, seems we don’t carry round white wreaths in Canada.  There were half wreaths and square ones.  The clerk suggested I buy the square one and sand it using a paper bag, the paper bag so that it does’nt  make a big hole in the wreath like sand paper might.   This is what I chose to do.  Off to Walmart to get the peppermints.  Up and down every isle….NONE!  Box of Redhots….NONE!  Next stop, Bulkbarn….NONE!  I don’t get it, I’ve seen these peppermints, I just can’t remember where.

This is what I found,  I must say I love it but I don’t find it has the same WOW factor as the one Shaunna made but it was fun anyway and hangs in my kitchen window.

My Redhots are actually hearts, again from bulk barn.

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Here it hung in my kitchen window for Christmas.

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My Granddaughter asked me the other day why I still had my Christmas decorations up, ( I love her) I told that I thought the red would go well with Valentines.  To be honest I’m not sure what I am going to do with it, seems a shame to throw it out.  So here it still hangs.  Also I was disappointed with myself for not getting it into the blog at Christmas time, since it’s red and my “red hots” are “red hearts”……Valentine appropriate it is.

Scouting Pinterest for some Valentine craft ideas I came across this one.  Made from toilet paper rolls and these ones were red!  Not mine but the ones on Pinterest.  Can you believe it? Inside and out!

I had to paint mine and I did that with my Anne Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk.  I thought it was a bit crazy to use my chalk paint when I have lots of regular craft paint but I really like the red of the Emperor’s Silk.   After letting them dry I then pressed them a little  but not to crease them.  I then measured 1/2″ pieces and cut them up, after that shape them into hearts, it’s super easy.  I decided to go through the beads I had rather than go out and buy new ones.  I didn’t have any red but found these nice white ones.

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Using some fishing line I ran it through the bead twice and then up through the bottom of the heart and through the top.

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I did about one roll per string.  I was originally going to hang them in the kitchen window but we have a doorway in the kitchen that we blocked off going into the living room with half (homemade wall) and hanging them there allows me to enjoy them from both the living room and the kitchen.

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On my mantel I painted a couple of wooden hearts and the scrabble tray with the same Emperor’s Silk, adding the scrabble words “Be Mine”    The word love is my own little creation, now I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, all I’m saying is I didn’t see it on Pinterest, I actually just decided to do it on my own with pipe cleaners.  OK, no biggie …..

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I love the little white Ikea frames, for adding just about anything.  Here I added a piece of scrap booking paper and it added a little valentine pop.  Then a little vintage kiss and a hug.

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….and there it is,  my Valentine is early.


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Joy from Pinterest

An item I posted to my Christmas Pinterest board last year was this Joy sign.  As soon as I figure out how to do links I’ll add one to this picture.

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I knew from the moment I saw it I was making it for my girlfriend Pat.  It would suite her place perfectly.   In the summer I picked up two perfect pieces of wood from Habitat for Humanity.  I don’t have step by step pictures but I will be able to explain it fairly well.

First let me just say “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”  I love all things rustic!  This helps a lot when creating. But I’ve always been this way as far as I can remember.

The first thing I did was sand the board.  It had a lot of ruffness to it and I didn’t want to sand it all out but enough to take out the chance of any splinters.  Next I added the stain, a good coat all over the board on both sides.  I let that dry and then painted it with my craft paints in Buttermilk.  Probably a good two coats.  Then I took the sander to it and removed the paint from the areas that I wanted the stain to show through.  After this step you will find that a lot of your stain comes off with sanding so I just add a bit more not worrying about touching the paint, when it does that it just makes the paint look older adding more character.  Then I hand draw, with a pencil, the word Joy.  Now this is where if you did like things to be perfect you would probably get out the ruler and measure out the size you wanted each letter to be, the distance  apart, the size of your board etc…and maybe this is why I like things rustic, I can’t be bothered with all of that.  I gave the word Joy 3 coats of Barn Red, it’s a colour I use often.

Sometimes on other signs I will then sand the words a little but this sign I new would be on a porch and would need to be seen from a distance so sanding the letters would not be a good idea.  I added a little extra touch to this one, the holly at the top.  Finishing it off with a good coat of wax to give it a little lustre.   She loved it and here it is on her porch.

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Confession from a not so blogger

I came to my blog tonight with a confession of why I don’t blog.  I thought I would sit down and tell all of what keeps me from coming here every day or so, to write about “stuff”.

Oh I had high hopes, to blog like the best of them do. haha    To post my mantels and crafts and all my DIY’s.  Truth is once I sat down, the reason why I thought I didn’t blog isn’t really the reason at all.  I thought it was because I just had too many other things that I was doing, one of the big things was reading other peoples blogs!  I follow several everyday.  I’m also totally addicted to Pinterest, giving me cheap eye candy I can spend hours just scanning through new ideas for crafts.  I also have a full time job.  I know,  several of you out there do and 2 or 3 children.  You are like Santa’s elves staying up all night creating the things you do and then writing about them and I thank you for that.

As I was saying, I sat down here tonight to write of a post of why and I decided to change my picture from the pumpkins to something more Christmas related and then I was going to show you the wreath I made.  After a gruelling half hour of trying to figure out how to delete the photo to then add another and just wanting to give up on the whole thing truth be known…… this is why I don’t blog!  everything takes soooooo long for me to figure out!!

Seriously if I could just sit down and type up a quick post and then quickly add a few pictures it would be great.   (This picture was probably taken by my step daughter or her husband).

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I took a course and Lynn, incase you are still coming to my blog to see if I have posted anything new, it was a good one.  I guess I just need more practice.

So I have made a commitment to myself, (not a New Years Resolution) that I will try much harder than I have in the past to post a little lot more than I have.  If I don’t invest anytime in learning “how to” I can’t really complain.

I have to give it an honest try….at least.


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Candy apples, jeans & the country air

I don’t know about you but I love a country fair.  There is just something about them, the smell, the noise, the rides oh and my favourite…. the candy apple.  This year was my first in many years to The Port Perry Fair.  I just love the sound of it.  I decided that we would by the weekend pass, my mom lives right next door and this would allow us in and out privileges all weekend.  We could go home for a break, to have dinner, a nap in the afternoon…. yes we did that, even to use the washroom, we were that close. 

We started over at the cattle show and watched as the young men and women walked their cattle around in a circle for show.  Lots of work I would imagine to win a ribbon.  One cow would have nothing to do with it.  He wanted no part in walking in a circle,  that boy pulled and pulled and pulled and at one point the cow just laid down in the shade.

I wanted to capture the fair this year and remember all those moments especially the people.  As I looked around I thought back to when I was a kid, a teenager actually.  Going to the fair, for many means summer is over and you are going back to school.  I watched how the people changed from the young in the afternoon to the teenagers in the evening.  With maybe a girl on a date or just a bunch of friends hanging out.  How during the day the carnie guy just let the people on and off the rides but at night he became a dancing king, yelling  “do you want to go faster” on one of my favorite rides.

Another one of my favorite rides is this one.  The guy always sat on the side where he would get squished.

This would not be one of my favourites, although I have been on it, many years ago, now….I think I would pass.

The Merry-Go-Round, well I just love the look of it, those vintage colours…although my mom said I screamed my head off when I was little.  Funny how a ride can scare us so much as children.

We watched the heavy horse show, the harness horse racing and the bull riding competition.  That’s a crazy sport, however I did enjoy the mascot.  He performed on Americas Got Talent!
Another favorite of mine in Port Perry,  is the Outback cloggers.  Similar to step or tap but a gentler step. Something I may have to try someday.

And maybe a Fair just wouldn’t be the same without a clown….

Meet Miss Valentine.

How about you, do you like the fair or can you live without it?


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Salsa & Sauce Part II

So the salsa is done and divided and I don’t feel to badly.  We had a lovely dinner in the screened porch with peach pie for dessert and then a surprise early birthday cake for Pat.  There was no shortage of food or dessert.

We started our morning off with coffee on the front porch.  It’s not a view of the lake but it gets the morning sun and we get to overlook the garden.  However within no time we are right at it because one sister is leaving at 11 a.m. and we can use all the help we can get.

Two large pots filled with water on the stove so that I can blanch 5 bushels  of tomatoes!  Within a few minutes of adding some tomatoes to a small strainer putting them into the water and going back for more tomatoes, bending over and over again, I realize I could be in trouble and maybe not be able to walk tomorrow.  So I ran around the house finding items so that I can bring these bushels and also the white pales up closer to my waist line.  Easing the amount of bending.

Outside two of the sisters are washing and inspecting the remainder of the tomatoes.  Oh what a beautiful day and look at the lake!  If that doesn’t make the job more enjoyable……

Do you believe that when they started this several years ago they did it all by hand and finally decided to buy an electric grinder.  They set it up outside because little did I know the mess this machine would make.  I would get my turn at everything, they said.

So like the tomatoes for the salsa I would boil them enough for the skins to be soft, this would help them go through the grinder better.  Once I had a  full bucket I would bring it outside.  The person on the messy side would fill the machine with tomatoes, scrape the tomatoes coming out,  and add some of the pulp back into the machine to help thicken the sauce.  The other person just kept plunging the tomatoes down the hole.

This was one messy job and hot when you were being splatted with hot tomato sauce.  I didn’t do this job very long.  The tomato sauce ran into a bucket that  held a pillow case and the bucket had holes in it to allow for water to drain, again to help thicken the sauce.

The sauce would then be transferred back into the clean buckets and we started working on the making of the sauce.  I can’t really remember the measurements but I think it was 1 cup onion with some oil cooked until soft and added to each pot of sauce.  You can also add some bay leaves to the pot or drop them into the bottom of your mason jars.

The mason jars are heated, and the lids are boiled all the same process as the salsa.  We had our issues from exploding jars to jars where the sauce was just so overheated in the jars they had pushed off the lids and the sauce was seeping out.  This was a little discouraging because the whole pot has to be emptied and filled again.

On the 3rd day I could hardly lift my right arm from lifting every tomato in that pot and out again.  Ok well almost every tomato.  We ate and ate again, we swam, we shared some wine.  We played the music loud and danced.  The sisters reminisced and shared some family stories but no one ever told me…..

How do you get those shoes on with your feet so big”?


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Salsa & Sauce

For several years now my girlfriend and her sisters have got together at the end of August to make tomato sauce.  Over the last few years I have grown an interest in canning.  I think I just like the idea and well probably, mostly, the look of all that delicious produce in the mason jar.  So I was thrilled when I was invited to join the sisters in making the tomato sauce.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into…..

The setting would be beautiful.  A lake side log home and beautiful weather.  My girlfriend (Pat) and I decided that we would do salsa first.  I arrived at 11:30 am on a Sunday morning having taken the train, a quick stop at the grocery store for a few last minute items and we were back at the house chopping away.  She had already picked up 6 bushels of tomatoes. 5 would be for the tomato sauce and 1 for salsa.

The canning process is very time consuming to say the least.  First we washed all the tomatoes, inspecting each one for bad spots.

We then blanched the tomatoes to make the skins soft enough to peel.  Then we chopped and removed as much seeds as you could.

I brought my mandolin and chopped…. oh I don’t know really,  one huge bag of onions.   There where lots of tears until Barb lit two candles and it really did work.  I’ve tried everything including biting on a toothpick.

After chopping all the ingredients and the secret spices we cooked it all on the stove and then began filling the jars.

The jars are heated in the oven and the lids are boiled.  Making sure the rims are clean we place on the snap lids and then the ring, finger tightened only, then they are placed in the bath.

Ta da!  Fresh salsa for the year. Ha! If it lasts that long.  We finished up at around 7:00 and the four of us headed down to the dock for a much needed glass of wine.  Tomorrow after all would be another full day of canning.  My feet would be killing me and every bone in my body would ache.
I would have no idea!

Considering the amount of pictures I have to share I decided I would post our two days of tomato sauce tomorrow.


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Ribbon, pins and back breaking work

Choosing curtains I find to be very difficult.  Hemming them I find to be a nightmare.

Growing up we had sheers and then lace.  I have always loved the look of lace and had it in just about every window in this house.  Last year my dear brother told me to “get rid of the lace” and I thought maybe it was time.

I brought home 4 sets of drapes one day for the living room and didn’t really like one pair.  I settled on the simple white ones from Ikea.  They are cheap and are super long, which is great because most curtains that are ready made are ready made too short.   Earlier this week my girlfriend was in town and she helped me hem the ones I had hanging in the dinning room.  It went pretty smoothly and she gave me some good pointers.

To save some money I decided I would add the cut off material to a pair I had in the bedroom and bring them down for the living room….crazy I know.
    
Well I didn’t really know…. until I got into it.

I was pretty sure you were going to see where I joined the two together so I thought I would buy some ribbon to cover the seam.  Off to the fabric store, curtains in tow and finally a sales clerk who helped me lay out my fabric and also gave me a few pointers.  I decided on two ribbons per curtain for a more bold look…….again…..what was I thinking.   I’m no seamstress.  It takes everything I have to hem,  now you want to add not one ribbon but two….on each curtain….and it needs to be straight!

Home from the fabric store I immediately emptied the dinning room, table and all,  so that I could lay both curtains on the floor side by side.  I’m a visual person.

I pinned both pieces of ribbon to the curtains covering the seam of where I added the extra piece of material.  Oh and the seams are not in the same spot on each curtain.  This is actually quite funny.

Ok looks good, wow it can’t be this easy, or can it?   Lets hang them up to see how it looks.

I should have known!  I just busted my back, on my hands and knees, bent over, pinning all this ribbon and it’s way to close to the ground!

Maybe the first thing I should do is hem them, and I also realize,  you can’t really see where I joined the two pieces.  (from a distance) Who is going to look that close anyway?  I took off the ribbon and pined one side of the curtain for it to just touch the floor and worked my way through the two panels. 

Next was the ribbon, back on my hands and knees bent over pinning and measuring over and over again.  Then I hung them back up to make sure that they were evenly spaced apart and that they ran from one curtain to the next at the same height.  Phew! They did.  Now I just had to make sure that when I took the pins out and ran the tape under the ribbon and then ironed them, they stayed even.

AND THEY DID!  I think they look awesome and worth all the work.

The left side is a little longer, I will have to adjust the rod.
Notice my pillow from Dear Lillie