Posts filed under ‘Projects’
Sometimes when things just don’t seem to be going well… you are presented with the unexpected. My daughter decided to give a fall leaf new life.
We took a little holiday… to the sunshine. That’s where I’ve been. But we’re back now and working feverishly on the gardens – warm temperatures and a bit of sun have arrived, hurray! I do have to update you on the bathroom and the hallways, so look for that in the coming days. In the meantime, I wanted to share this sunflower craft we made for Mother’s Day.
For this craft you will need,
- 3 sheets of coloured paper – yellow (or more depending on the size your child’s hand)
- one small paper plate
- brown paint
- approximately 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (with the shell)
- white school glue
- pencil, scissors and a paint brush
The first order of business is to paint the plate brown. Set it aside to dry. Fold a sheet of yellow paper into four. Trace your child’s hand on the paper. Once done, cut around the tracing. You should be left with four cut-out hands. Repeat this step with the remaining paper. You will need 12 hands in total. Glue the cut-out hands (petals) onto the back of the dried painted plate. Overlap the petals slightly to give the flower a full look. Turn over and spread a generous amount of glue on the painted paper plate, and have your child place as many sunflowers seeds on the plate as possible. Set aside to dry. If you want, you can add some magnets to the back so that it can be hung on the fridge.
The theme of this post is all about “fresh”; my desire to be out of the dust and into fresh air, a new wine that goes by Fresh, and a couple fresh new recipes created today by me.
The hallway walls are getting a good sanding this weekend. Yikes – that is a lot of dust. I find plaster dust very hard on the skin. Even if I don’t actually partake in sanding myself, I find my skin gets dry just being in the presence of it. Here I go complaining again… I’m trying not to, really I am, but it has been a long winter with a lot of dust and the storm windows have prevented me from opening the windows for even a hint of fresh air.
A while back, I promised that I would share the hidden staircase that we were planning on using when we refinish the hallway floors. This was a picture from upstairs. Looks totally usable, right? I’m afraid not… the former owners removed far too much of the staircase and it is about a 3 foot drop to the floor. Most of the staircase opening is also blocked by pipes. Sounds terrible, I know, but this gives me a very good reason to head south while the floors get refinished, don’t you think? See, I can be optimistic during this crazy renovation! A good wine helps too.
Real wine connoisseurs out there would likely scold me for pairing red wine with fish, but in our house we drink what we like. Today, we like Fresh Cabernet Gamay. This wine is described as having a clear deep ruby colour; cherry, licorice and pepper aromas; dry, medium body; and ripe black fruit flavours with soft tannins. I describe it as light and tasty. Try it and let me know what you think.
And a couple fresh new recipes from my kitchen:
Sweet Potato and Mushroom Hash with a Side of Simple Haddock
I had full intentions of buying salmon at the market today. I’m not a big fan of seafood, but I don’t mind salmon and rainbow trout. However, before I knew what I was saying, I asked for two haddock fillets. I don’t know how or why this happened. Since I don’t normally eat haddock, I didn’t want to dress it up too much. I wanted to see what it actually tastes like. So this entire meal was kept very simple, which is nice on Friday after a long week.
Sweet Potato and Mushroom Hash
- 2 small or 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- 2 haddock fillets
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- dash of cayenne
To make the sweet potato and mushroom hash, warm up the oil and butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft and most of the water from the mushrooms has been absorbed (about 7 minutes). Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and keep warm. If needed, add a bit more oil to the skillet. Add the sweet potatoes and sauté until browned on all sides and soft in the centre (about 10 minutes). Be sure to flip the potatoes around the pan as they cook so that all sides brown. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and garnish with green onions.
Preheat your barbeque* or oven to 375F degrees. To make the haddock you will need to make an aluminum foil packet lined with wax or parchment paper big enough to fit both haddock fillets. Place the fillets side-by-side in the centre of the packet. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with chives, salt and cayenne. Close up the packet, and if cooking in the oven place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or on the barbeque for 10 to 15 minutes (length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets). Serve alongside sweet potato and mushroom hash.
* I don’t like fish smells in the house so I always cook fish outside on the barbeque.
I have been very tired lately and not feeling particularly inspired. Work has been busy and the dust in my house from the hallway reno is driving me bananas. But life is not all bad. My friend Heather put a pink hyacinth on my desk at work this morning. I’m looking forward to seeing it bloom. My mom tells me they smell nice too.
Here is something to chew on while I’m going bananas from all of the dust.
Banana Carob Chip Muffins
I’m not sure if carob chips have dairy in them, but if not, then this recipe somehow ended up being egg and dairy free. I started with a basic banana muffin recipe and kept changing the recipe until I was certain that they had more goodness in them than bad.
- 1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 ripe bananas, well mashed
- ¾ cup rice milk plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sucanat
- ¼ cup apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup carob chips
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Line a standard muffin tray (12 muffins) with muffin papers and set aside.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas really well and set aside. In a separate bowl or in a one cup measure add the vinegar to the rice milk and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar, apple sauce, milk, bananas, vanilla and chocolate chips to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
These muffins are very moist and best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
A few weeks back we attended a Family Fun Day at the local art gallery. They currently have a Matisse exhibit and make your own Matisse was the theme of the art class. It was a lot of fun, so I thought I would share.
A bit about Henri Matisse (you can read more here): Henri Matisse (1869 -1954) was a French artist, known for his use of colour. In addition to being a painter, he was also a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he typically painted, during the early to mid-1940s Matisse was in poor health, and by 1950 he stopped painting in favor of his paper cutouts. This work has been labeled: The Cutouts; and it was his cutouts that inspired our Sunday afternoon art project at the art gallery. In fact, we viewed the Matisse exhibit after we did our art project and my daughter said, “Look Mommy, this looks like my art.”
Why spend a gazillion dollars decorating your walls when you can make your own art? Make and frame your own Matisse. Here’s how.
For this project you will need:
- a great imagination
- one sheet of 11x14inch white paper (or the size of your choice)
- coloured paper (a selection of colours)
- glue stick
- child friendly scissors
- painting stencil*
- paints (a selection of colours)
- paint brush (a round, fat brush works best for stencils)
- picture frame (optional)
Cut the coloured paper into a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the age of your child, they may or may not be able to help with this. If you have them, you can also use serrated edged scissors for added interest. Have your child randomly glue the paper shapes on a sheet of white paper. Once they are happy with the amount of colours and shapes, have them select a spot on their artwork for the stencil. Have an adult hold the stencil in place or tape it down so that the child can paint in the stencil. Carefully remove the stencil and voila; your make-your-own-Matisse is complete and ready for framing.
*You can buy stencils at an arts and crafts store, or you can make your own. Simply print a silhouette of an animal, flower or whatever you desire from the Internet, or draw your own on heavy cardstock. (You may wish to adjust the size of the image in a graphics editor if using images from the Internet.) Carefully cut out the filled in areas of the silhouette and you have your own stencil that you can use again and again.
I sort of alluded to the hallway renovation… here’s a post a wrote about it but forgot to post.
It is a new year and that means it is time to start a new project. The entrance way and the hallways are under construction. What does this mean for our Century home? Closets where there were never closets before, restoring the plaster, stripping trim, varnishing wood, peeling some wallpaper, painting and sanding and varnishing the floors. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, I like to think that hallways are the arteries. This means that while they are under construction it is going to be difficult to get from room to room. I painstakingly refinished the staircase several years ago so we don’t have to worry about that, but once the plaster work starts we are not going to want to walk through all that dust. Lucky for us there is a hidden staircase in our house! Century homes are always full of surprises (hidden septic systems for only one bathroom in the house, a giant hornets nest in the attic walls, bats, etc.) but the hidden staircase was like finding a hidden treasure. We are going to open it up again and use it during the hallway restoration. I’ll be sure to share some photos with you when we take down the wall. Until then, here is a photo of the upstairs hallway in progress.