Saturday, October 29, 2016

Queen of Hearts Costume

As I mentioned a while ago, my daughter decided to make a Queen of Hearts costume for Halloween. It's all finished now, and she has raced back to see her friends in their old university town to celebrate Halloween tonight.

She found the inspiration for the costume on Pinterest, and if you search for Queen of Hearts yourself, you'll see all kinds of variations for this costume ... even zombified! The zombie queens were just a little too horrific for either of us, and she (thankfully) opted for something more fun.

My daughter made the top bodice portion by gluing playing cards over a tank top she bought at the thrift store for $3. She put the tank top on, and then using a glue gun started gluing the cards in place all around. I didn't help with any of that part, and she says she only burnt herself slightly once. ouch! I honestly forgot to ask her how she managed to glue the cards on the back, but maybe she took the top off to do them. Some people used only red cards, or only red heart cards, but my daughter decided she wanted both the black and red cards. Once she got to her natural waist, she first folded the cards in half cross-wise before gluing them on. This flared the cards outwards and gave her a little comfort to sit down.

She left a vertical space down the back where I was asked to cut the tank top from top to bottom. Then she punched holes in the cards and the tank top together down both sides of that cut. The holes were a little rough looking, and I begged her to let me make some buttonholes on the sewing machine before she even started gluing the cards on. But! (and you may already know this) kids can be stubborn when they just want to do things themselves. The argument grew, and finally her also-stubborn mother realized it probably didn't matter, and left her to work on it her way.

Once all the holes were punched, she took some grosgrain ribbon and threaded it through the holes on each side like a shoe. This lacing enables you to get the top on and off. She left two feet of extra lace on each side to help get this part opened up again. Some of the holes in the cards did rip, so she just reinforced all the punched cards with duct tape wrapped along the edge (both front & back).

I was left to sew the skirt, which was supposed to be "tutu" style. I have never sewn a tutu, and I don't think it turned out exactly as she had hoped. But it's only a costume for the night, and it's done, and I hope I am never asked to sew another costume again.

Here's the final result ...

You can see that the skirt didn't flare out like a proper tutu, and I think I maybe didn't use the right fabric for that.

My daughter also made this rose from playing cards following a tutorial she found on Pinterest and glued it onto a wooden skewer. I think it looks great!

I quickly made this "brooch" from some leftover lace. Seeing it now I think it would look better with some sparkly red jewel glued to the centre. We just hot glued this directly onto her costume.

And that's it!

Of course I left the finishing of this skirt to the very last minute, and had troubles with it (doing the gathers the gathering thread kept breaking!). I spent all day working on it from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and had had quite enough of it by then. If anything could go wrong, it did! Glad it's done and she's happy with it ;)

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, October 28, 2016

Subtle Fall

The fall colours in my neighbourhood have been lacking this year. I guess with the warm, humid weather continuing up until a couple of weeks ago, it has affected the strength of colours. When I look out my windows it's still predominantly green with just subtle hues of colour.

Earlier this week I took the kids down to our local marsh for an enjoyable walk along the trail and to get a few fall colour shots, such as they are.

Kids look so tiny in the woods ...

There were a few nice bird sightings. Nuthatches are so fast! that I only got one good shot of him, even though I snapped about six!

The turkeys are back in the piney woods ... all ready for a free handout.


They don't think I see them ;)


This short video has the chickadees eating seeds from my hand. It makes me laugh because all I can hear is the little girl in my care saying "a little bird on my head" when a chickadee landed on her head. She's so good and didn't panic, but kept repeating it over and over ;)

A bright cardinal heard the commotion when we stopped to feed the chickadees, but he refused to leave the safety of all these red branches.

The Canada Geese are always busy down at the marsh. Most of these birds will winter here now. When the temperatures suddenly drop however, it triggers in their tiny brains a faint memory of flying south and they flock together, honk together, cause great commotion and then forget where they're supposed to go.


Although the colours were subtle, some of the scenery looked like a painting with a faint haze in the air.

Loved the sweep of these bare branches (below) ...

The faint colours are still nice close up ...

Lots of vines heavy with grapes and other berries. I was surprised the birds hadn't already devoured these ...

Far too quickly it was time to head home again. Although I love being able to take the kids out with me on these little outings, I just want to keep going, going, going, but these little guys run out of steam quickly. A group of hikers were in the parking lot when we started out, and they marched passed us on the trail already heading back! I think I would be bored walking in such regimental style. When we got back to the parking lot they were all doing their cooling down exercises before hopping back in their vehicles. 

This little mallard is sporting his new fall pin ... all the girls thought he was special.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup

The temperature took a turn for the worst overnight and it's snowing or freezing rain out there early this morning. Last night we had delicious squash soup for supper, together with crusty rosemary bread and barbequed salmon (looks like we won't be barbequing much now!).  This is my version of this delicious fall soup. I've made the soup with cream a couple of times, and it really is creamy, but normally I make it with skim milk, and it still tastes delicious! This recipe makes about six generous servings.

1  medium-sized butternut squash
2  cups turkey or chicken stock
1  tbsp butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2  tbsp flour
3/4 cup celery (leaves included), chopped
2  cups half-and-half cream, or milk (I use skim)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 - 2 tsp ginger

Cut squash in half, place cut sides down in a shallow pan and pour about an inch of water in the pan. Cook the squash in the oven at 350'F for about an hour, until soft when pricked with a fork.

Scoop out the squash and mash, then set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion and saute until onion is transparent. Add flour and stir for a few minutes. Add stock all at once and whisk quickly to remove any lumps. Add squash and all remaining ingredients and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it's almost to a boil. Puree the soup in a blender and serve. 


such a beautiful, dense squash
Linking up with Thoughts of Home on Thursday with JemmaStaceyLaura and Laura! Thanks for hosting ladies :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fall Crafting with Kids

I had pinned this idea from Pinterest a while back, and today I got my two-year old daycare kids to crank out a couple of scarecrows for their fall crafts.  I think they looked great, although the sad one kinda made me sad too ...

It was a wild and weird day today with lots of mist-like rain, occasional brilliant sunshine and a brisk wind sending the dark grey clouds scudding across the skies. The temperature felt like it was falling throughout the day too, so it was a good day for crafting inside. 

I'm in the midst of sewing a tutu for my daughter's "Queen of Hearts" costume she is working on. She's making the top from playing cards, and I volunteered to make the skirt. I thought I was finished making Halloween costumes for my kids, but at 22 years old, she's right back into dressing up all over again ... darn it! Once she's got the whole thing complete I'll share a couple of photos.

I seem to have all sorts of little projects I suddenly want to work on, but I want to organize my sewing supplies before I begin. I'm getting a few too many piles of fabric, ribbons and jars of buttons drifting upstairs away from my sewing nook in the basement. I can't stand working in a mess, so getting things back where they belong will be on the "to do" list for this week. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tea in the Village

Today I had a very pleasant outing with two lovely ladies ... Margie from Tea in the Valley, and Judith from Lavender Cottage. We are all part of a group of Canadian gals who participate in a tea and card exchange throughout the year. This is now the second year for our group, and the second time I've had the pleasure of meeting both of these fun ladies. We met up in the Village of Markham, Ontario at The Old Curiosity Tea Shop for a Victorian tea. The tea house was a cozy place with lots of old-fashioned decor. 

... and we fit right in!! ha ha!

left to right ... Margie, Judith and me

Margie and Judith were sporting their new fascinators and looked wonderful. I was not so daring, but I noticed on the way into the tea house that they had "Fancy Hat Fridays" ... something to consider another time eh?

The tea was served in individual pots with pretty china tea cups. This was my tea cup, which I now forget the name of. We had a tiered tray of fancy sandwiches and then sweet desserts! I enjoyed a wonderful Earl Grey tea with ginger ... perfect for our blustery fall day today.

The three of us had such a good time chatting about all things bloggy and family related. We were hoping to have a few more people, but they were unable to attend. Maybe next time we get together we'll be able to fill all the seats at our table ;)

I snapped this photo as we were leaving (sorry it's a bit out of focus (phone!), I didn't notice till I got home). But you can see all the jars of loose tea you can purchase, and it seems quite a few people come in just to buy the tea. Maybe I should have brought home some of the delicious tea I had! I can easily pop back there sometime as it was a very quick 20 minute drive on the toll highway.

While we were heading out the door, we noticed a display of pretty jewelry which was made from bits of broken china. I didn't get a photo of the whole display, but I got talking to the tea shop owner, and she said they were made by a woman in Kingston. When the tea shop owner first saw the jewelry, she quickly struck a deal with the artist and has these pieces for sale in the tea shop now. The tea shop sends the artist bits of broken china to make more jewelry, and you can even send your own broken china to the artist to be made into something special. I love that! Makes me want to "accidentally" break a tea cup! I really liked the unique pieces and one of them came home with me ....

It reminds me of some of my own blue & white china.

Well I'm glad to finally have something to share with you all ... I haven't been blogging much and I have only been visiting others very sporadically. I never know from one week to the next when I will have time to post and visit, so thank you for stopping by even though I'm a bit unpredictable these days. Stuff happens, right? Our weather has suddenly turned cold and we've gone from wearing shorts last weekend, to needing a winter coat today! Furnace has been turned on for the first time this fall, and it probably won't be shut of till next May ... back to the short white days soon!

Have a great weekend folks!


Thursday, October 06, 2016

Turkey Craft & Chair Art

With our Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, I had the daycare kids work on a turkey craft.

We used a cheap paper plate for the base, and glued all the handprint "feathers" around the outer edge. Then we painted a small dessert paper plate brown, and glued that in the centre. In the centre of the small plate we glued another circle cut from construction paper and glued on the facial features. A few dyed chicken feathers were tucked under the dessert plate (just because I had them).

This guy went a little wonky in the face, 
but these are the creations I like the best from two-year olds.

"Gobble Gobble!!"

On another note, I don't think I ever showed you the creative chair my son made in his last year of high school. This was an art project that they do each year with the Grade 12 classes. They had to make something creative with a chair in a theme. My son knew he wanted to make something military, and he wanted it to be chair with army tank treads. We thought it seemed a little far fetched, but we helped him find all the odd bits and pieces at flea markets and our basement. It turned out amazing once the spray paint went over all the wood and metal bits of junk on there. This was one of the chairs that I had refinished in white for my daughter for university. We got one last use out of the $4 chair ;) His art teacher asked if she could have the chair back to show other students. As much as I love what my son accomplished here, and I think it looks great, I was happy I didn't have to find space for it in my small home.

Thanks for stopping by!


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