Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Praise of Hand - Me - Downs

This post was inspired by a large box of clothes that recently arrived from my sister. They are the cutest of items that her almost two year old has outgrown. The day they arrived it was like it was someone's birthday. It was a big production for Quin and I to go through the clothes for her little sister. Quin was down right envious about some of the items her sister was going to get to wear. Now, some people would never consider clothing their children in hand-me-downs, just like some people would never consider eating reheated leftovers from yesterday's meal. I am not some people. If I liked my meal, I am happy to open the fridge and see it again. And if I like a piece of clothing I could care less who wore it before me. I love passing around clothes, both as the giver and the receiver, for all to share and wear. Maybe it was different in the old days, I do know people who whine about the hand-me-downs they had to wear. I was the first and only girl in my family, so I am assuming I never had to wear them but I would like to think I would have been excited to wear such and such's clothes, the way my oldest loves to tell people she is wearing "Jorga's shoes" or "Lucy's shorts" or something from another friend. And of course, her little sister gets all of her clothes, some of which belonged to the children of my friends before they belonged to her. I look at some of these clothes, especially the few handmade items, and I smile about how many kiddos may have worn them, and the loving hands that made them. I long for the days when handing down clothing was a necessity and each piece was made knowing it would have to clothe several kids. It is not like that today. Clothing is so easy to come by that most people I know have way more of it than they need. It is possible to buy new clothing on sale for a couple of bucks. Some of this clothing is bought and never worn only to be available at yard sales and thrift stores. There is good clothing everywhere including the landfills. I know MANY people who will not mend any item of clothing, who claim they don't even know how to sew on a button! I try to mend clothing once a month, both to be able to save items we love, and also to reflect on what all the generations before us both knew how and needed to do. And I think of the state of our environment when I think of our world of abundance. Handing down clothing is a great way to recycle. I give many of my favorite and best kid's items to friends even though I may have another child. It is fun to see their kids in my kids' favorite clothes. If I have another girl, they will give me these items back. And if I don't they will pass them on. Adults can get in on the action, too. I have both attended and hosted clothing swaps for adults. I even wrote about how you can do the same here. So I will close this rant with a big thank you to my sister for keeping the hand-me-down cycle going. I promise to pass these lovely items on...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And The Winner of the CSN Gift Certificate is...

...drumroll please.... by random number generator is Debbie! She is the mother of four teens and she said she would love to own this waffle maker. Congratulations, Debbie! I will be sharing a multi grain waffle recipe on my blog within the next week, so check back. And for everyone who didn't win this time around, I hope to have another giveaway with CSN before the end of the year...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Old Voyager With Style...

I will be having some quicky posts coming up, since I will soon be going on a long vacation to see friends and family in three of the places I have previously lived; Ottawa, Minnesota, & Maine. I have prescheduled some posts so stay tuned...

I shot these images of this snazzy (a word my grandfather loved to use) Voyager which I often see in our neck of the woods. I have yet to meet the person who owns it, who I am hoping is the person who actually painted it. I would love to talk with this creative individual who has made me like an auto that I have a history of not liking... I had to drive the family Dodge Caravan in high school. Anyway, I have always wanted to paint a car and this one is awesome!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Healthy Homemade Fruit Thin Bars (Think Fig Newtons...)

I am always on the look out for healthy homemade snacks and luckily I have lots of friends who are willing to share their recipes. My friend, Jane & I swap cookbooks, which is a really nice way to gain some new recipes, complete with feedback from someone you trust.

Our new favorite in this house are fruit thins. They are a fruit filled cookie that literally have tons of possible fillings. This recipe is from a very old out of print cookbook about baking.

Fruit Thins

Makes 24 to 32 cookies


- 1 1/2 cups Brazil nuts or walnuts (I used walnuts)
- 1 cup coconut (I used unsweetened shredded)
- 2 cups quick oats (I used organic)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
- 1/4 cup honey, warmed (although if you use liquid honey you don't need to warm it)
- 1/2 cup water
- Filling: use 1/2 cup water with a, b, c
a: 2 cups raisins, 1 cup dates
b: 1 cup each dates, raisins, and dried cranberries
c: 1 cup dried apricots, 1 cup dried pineapples pieces, and 1 cup golden raisins
NOTE: I used organic raspberry jam in my thins because I had it on hand.

1. Blend coconut and oatmeal two minutes in food processor and place in bowl.
2. Blend nuts, flour, and salt for 30 seconds. Mix in bowl with coconut/oatmeal mixture. Add honey and water and stir together until pie-dough-like mixture is formed. Divide into two balls.
3. Filling: use a, b, or c from ingredient list; place in food processor with water and whiz, adding extra water if needed to make a thick speadable paste. (If dates or dried pineapple are hard, soften them in the water in microwave or on stove top before processing).
If using jam you do not need to prep it. Here is where things get a bit tricky...
4. Roll out first crust using two large pieces of plastic bag material or Bake Magic sheets. Place dough ball between sheets and rool, readjusting plastic if dough begins to press out as you roll. (Dampen counter slightly to keep the sheets from slipping around on the counter as you roll them. You will transfering everything to a cookie sheet with a lip, so roll it out to that size and shape.
5. Spread driend fruit mixture or jam over the surface.
6. Roll out the other ball of dough and place over the top of the other rolled out dough with filling and transfer to a cookie sheet. Place the plastic sheet on top and roll filmly to merge the layers together.
7. Score (press knife, don't drag). Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown on edges and bottom.

These smell delicious while baking. Best wishes not having the whole family eat them on the first day...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quick Decorating Project - Wallpaper Covered Flat Panel Sliding Closet Doors

I completed this project last year (as some of you will be able to tell from the photo of my daughter) but have wanted to share it ever since. It is one of the best things I have done to make my bedroom more warm and cozy. We have two closets in our master bedroom. One has two sliding mirror doors and the other had just basic white flat panel doors. The white was glaring and annoyed me everytime I went into the room. I decided that one way I could make them look whatever way I wanted for very little money would be to wallpaper them. I was a bit afraid at first, because straight lines and I do not get along. I even contemplated paying a professional way too much money hang it for me. I was convinced that if I did it the pieces of wallpaper would be all wonky... I was wrong. I regained my "I can do it" attitude and with the help of my hubby, while I was nearly nine months pregnant, we were able to complete this project. It took us under an hour. I highly recommend the extra set of hands if you at all worried about starting this project. And to have another place for young children to be...

This tutorial is for self adhesive wallpaper. I have another project to share soon that uses vintage wallpaper with paste.
How to Wallpaper Flat Panel Sliding Closet Doors
By Tiffany Teske

- enough self adhesive wallpaper to cover your doors, you can measure them and then the people at the store can let you know how much you will need of the kind you select in order for it to match up properly (the kind I chose came in two roll packages, which gave me JUST enough if I did it correctly, and cost about $45).
- scissors
- tape measure
- an oblong mop bucket that you can wet your wallpaper in (or your bathtub if it is near where you are wallpapering
- a sharp straight edge razor blade or x acto knife or utility knife
- rubber squeegee (make sure it will glide over the wet paper and not scratch it)
- soft sponge

1. Wash your doors and let them dry.
2. Measure your wallpaper. Cut your first length. If your doors are wider than one piece and you need an additional piece, make sure you match up your pattern and cut the next piece so that your two pieces will match up correctly side by side. You will likely end up with a scrap piece of wallpaper left over from doing this.
3. Reroll up the first section of paper. Put the whole piece into the water in the mop bucket, briefly, making sure the paper gets evenly wet. Pull the paper out of the bucket by holding it in fingers of both hands from the top so that the weight of the wet paper unrolls all of the paper. Let the excess water drip off, then transfer the wet paper to the door, lining it up at the top and edge of the door. Press the paper onto the door with your flat hand, rubbing it so it attaches, then squeegeeing it from the top down and from the sides in, so that it is square and so that all the bubbles are removed between the paper and the door.
4. Once the piece is on, you can wipe it down with the sponge.

5. For the next section of paper, do the same, making sure the pattern lines up seamlessly when you add the second section next to the first. The second section of paper will likely be wider than your door so you will need to smooth the paper to the edge of the door, then cut the paper using your razor blade or knife. My door has a raised edge, so it was easy to cut it against that edge to make sure it the cut was straight and flush to the edge. Once it is cut, smooth out the whole section of the paper.
6. I needed four sections of paper for the two doors. Once it was all on, I wiped it down with the wet sponge again and let it dry.

All done!

UPDATE: I was at an interior decorating firm today, collecting some old fabric sample books, and the woman I know there started talking to her friend about how wallpaper is making a comeback in this area. However, she has some she wants to have hung in her bedroom and there are only two people in the area who do this. She said the quotes were from $150 - $300 to hand less paper than I did on my closet doors! Maybe I should start hang wallpaper...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CSN Store Giveaway - What Would YOU Do With $50 to Spend On Whatever You Want?

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER. The winner was announced here. Thank you to all who entered! And if you are finding this late, please become a follower so you will not miss my future giveaways...

Do you like to win things? Who doesn't? Well, I'm hosting a giveaway! And not just any giveaway. In my giveaway you are sure to be completely happy with the winning item because you get to pick what it is!

Have you heard of CSN Stores? They have over 200 online stores that sell everything from kitchen gadgets to lighting. They could furnish, decorate, and equip every corner of your home, office, cottage, RV, outdoor living room, and more.

So, here is the scoop. The giveaway is for a $50 gift certificate, that the winner can use in any CSN shop.

If I won, I would choose from some of the following kitchen items:

Alessi Pino Funnel by Stefano Giovannoni

William Bounds Rainbow Measuring Cup Set

Weston Roma Express Electric Pasta Machine

Flirty Aprons Women's Blossom Apron in Cherry

WMF Profi Plus Double Wheel Pizza Cutter

Cuisipro Donvier Electric Yogurt Maker

I am also looking for a pendant lamp and the array of lighting that CSN has just boggles my mind. We are talking thousands of options. Here are a two that I love...

Sea Gull Lighting - Single Light Red Pendant

Axo Light - 500011 - Aura Pendant in Polished Steel

So what are you waiting for? Maybe for me to tell you how to enter? To be eligible for this giveaway you need to:
- Live in the US or Canada. I am very sorry to my international friends, but I
promise to have a giveaway that you can be a part of within the next two months...
- Become a "follower" of my blog. Just click on the follow button to the right of this post. If you're already a "follower" you're already eligible.
- Leave a comment on this post which will counts as one entry. If you tell me at least one item you would use your certificate on you will get a second entry.

Would you like even more chances to win? Then you can...
- Tweet or Retweet this post.
- Link back to this giveaway on your blog.
- Join my Facebook page.
If you chose to do any of these additional things, please be sure to mention it in your comment.

I will announce the winner chosen by random number generator on Wednesday, July 21st at noon. Please leave all comments by Tuesday, July 20th at 11:59 pm. Good luck!

If you are interested in finding out about more blog giveaways, you should check out Giveaway Scout. They have information about many many giveaways, all in one place. You can even submit your own giveaway...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fish Collage for Kids and a Book Series Recommendation

As many of you know, I occasionally teach art and craft classes for kids at the Banff Public Library. My most recent class taught kids aged 6 - 10 about collage. While I normally create my own projects I decided to use an idea from a wonderful series of books from Kids Can Press. 123 I Can Collage by Irene Luxbacher, is just one in a series of art making books which also included 123 I Can Draw and 123 I Can Make Prints. These books are wonderful for teaching groups of children or your own children about making art. The projects are well explained in step by step photographs. They are colorful, fun, and adaptable. The fish collage I chose to make with the kids was by far my favorite in the collage book. I am drawn to circles and here the circles mimic fish scales.
Quin & her collage

Collage Fish by Tiffany Teske

My four year old daughter and I each made our own fish so I could bring a demo to the class. I was impressed by our results. I keep all of my paper scraps and I was able to use all recycled materials for this craft. It is a nice project for using up scrapbooking paper, old greeting cards, magazine pages, and more. I brought the punched circles to the class, but had the kids glue their paper onto matboard (you can just use poster board), draw and cut the head, tails, and fins, arrange all their circles, and rip paper for the water.

Isn't amazing how you can give a group of kids the same materials and they can all create very different works of art? Check your local library for these books and create some art with a child close to you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

round the outside - an exhibition of new work by Jane Newman and Michelle Henderson-Topp

Tonight (July 2nd) is a great night to view new art in the Bow Valley. My wonderfully talented friend, Jane Newman, who is as warm and kind as she is gifted, is having an opening for her show "round the outside" at Wild Flour Bakery Cafe at 211 Bear Street in Banff. It is a duo show, also featuring work by Michelle Henderson-Topp. The opening is from 7-9 PM and the work will be on view for all of July.