Crafting a Souvenir

Following our field trip to Graycliff I wanted to make a  souvenir/ gift for DC who initially had suggested the trip. Amongst the photos  taken were a few that included him which could have just been emailed, but I wanted to do something different.

Software was used to make the photos look  faded and vintage  before being  printed  on glossy paper. With inspiration from Youtuber Nik the Booksmith,  I proceeded with the next part of the project. She generously offered a “Polaroid” template to download. I printed several copies on glossy cardstock. The centres of each “Polaroid frame” had to be cut out with an Xacto knife.


After gluing the frames to the photos they were added  to a small booklet which I had made from cardstock. It included space for DC to write his memories of the day.

Using Kraft cardstock, glue, string, brads, and a paper punch I crafted  a “folio” type folder  to mail the photo booklet to DC.

I happened to have a rubber stamp with a favourite travel quote which I stamped onto the back :


It wasn’t exactly an apt quote since we had a destination in mind, but we did have a few detours along the road to Graycliff, so I guess one could say we “got lost”, if only for a few moments.

This project turned out to be only the first step on my journey to altered books.

A Teacup’s Tale, part 2

A few months ago, I began the story of my first china teacup purchase, made during my impoverished student years. Sadly, a crack developed and the cup could no longer be used to serve tea. Sentimentally, I wasn’t ready to trash it.


Receiving inspiration and instruction from one of my favourite Youtube persons, Debbie Shore, I decided to re-purpose this cup and saucer and turn it into a very useful “pin cushion”.

This is how to make one:

In addition to the cup and saucer,  these materials and supplies are needed:

a piece of cotton fabric, needle and thread,  a generous handful of stuffing material (I used kapok), scissors, hot glue gun and glue, trim

Cut the fabric into a circle, about 26 cm diameter. Thread the needle and sew a running stitch about 10 mm from the edge of the circle. Pull up the thread to gather the circle into a ball,  stuffing it as you go. Pull both ends of the thread and tie together. (The ball should be stuffed quite firmly).

Run a line of hot glue around the inside of the cup:


and adhere the fabric ball to the top of the teacup, placing the stitched side down.teacup-pincushion-6

Next, run a generous amount of hot glue around the depression in the saucer and adhere the teacup to it.


Finally, using more hot glue, apply the trim to the  bottom of the teacup where it joins the saucer. This hides any glue that may have oozed out. teacup-pincushion-8

This has to be my very favourite pin cushion, ever! I love how it sits firmly on my sewing table and looks so pretty, too!teacup-pincushion-9

And that’s the rest of the story.


A Currant Event


This story had its beginnings many years ago when, as a child, I went with my parents to my great uncle’s farm to pick currants – both black and red. I remember being told that the black ones were to be picked individually. It was easier to pick the red ones because  they could be picked with their stems attached. I’m not sure how much I helped filling the baskets but it is a fond memory and I have loved black and red currant berries ever since.

Three years ago a DF gave us three black currant bushes to plant. I knew not to expect any fruit the first two years, so it was exciting to discover tiny green blossoms on the plants this spring and even more exciting was the fact that bees were buzzing from flowers to flower. Over the weeks since I have checked the progress of our very first currant crop, watching the berries turn from green to red to black. Finally, it was time to pick. Under the blazing July sun I sat at each bush and carefully picked the fruit sampling the odd one or two. Blackcurrants-2

When I had finished I’d managed to half fill a 3L basket – not bad for a first crop.

Black Currant Syrup

300g black currants

125 ml raw honey

150 ml water

juice from 1/2 lemon

Wash the black currants and remove any green stems that may still be attached.

Add all the ingredients to a saucepan and cook very gently over a low heat for two hours.Blackcurrants-3

Line a sieve with cheesecloth, and suspend the sieve over a large enough pan to contain the  juice.  Pour the cooked berries into the cheesecloth and allow them to drip overnight:

The next day pour the strained syrup into a sterilized jar and store in the refrigerator.

This yielded 250ml of syrup, (and about an equal amount of mashed berries):


Enjoy the syrup as a refreshing cordial: add a  large spoonful to sparkling water and ice.

The mashed berries: well I plan to mix a generous spoonful with my favourite unflavoured yogurt.

Black currants are an excellent source of vitamin C –  better than oranges!

A New Cookie Recipe

Every Christmas season I like to try one new  cookie recipe to add to our family celebration. This year I found a recipe for Chocolate-mint cookies in one of our local newspapers and knew it was the one!

Chocolate-mint cookies-1

Chocolate-Mint Cookies

1 lb. dark semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped)

1/2 cup butter cut into 8 pieces

4 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup crushed peppermint candies (or crushed candy cane)

Combine half the chocolate chips and all the unsweetened chocolate in a medium metal bowl (or saucepan). Place the bowl over a larger saucepan of simmering water to melt the chocolate, and stir it often.  The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Remove the bowl from the heat as soon as all the chocolate has melted.

Beat the eggs and sugar with your mixer for about 10 minutes at medium speed. Mix in the vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture using a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and fold it in until just incorporated. Mix in the crushed peppermint candy and the remaining chocolate chips. Cover and chill the mixture overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and scoop out the dough into  walnut sized balls, spacing them 1 inch apart on the paper. Bake one sheet at a time in the middle of the oven about 11 minutes. Let the cookies sit on their sheet five minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Store in a covered container in a cool place.

This recipe makes about 90 cookies.

Tip: The large end of a melon scoop is perfect for shaping your cookies. 


Our beloved Teddy 2010 – 2017


It’s Tomorrow!

The Christmas Marketplace at Roselawn Centre is being held tomorrow. Of all the pieces of vintagy, grungy, shabby chic items I’ve made for the sale, my top three favourites are:

the (tattered, torn, and stained) stockings,



the gift tags, that could be the gift



and the decorative, altered clocks.


It has been tremendous fun getting ready for this show; from designing the booth to choosing what to make, I have loved every part of it.

FORC Christmas Market Poster 2017-01 copy