Welcome to my blog about my wood burning creations! I'm so glad you're here!
You can also visit my Etsy site here, to see what items are available to purchase, and visit me on Facebook here!

Monday, December 31, 2012

PB + J Monday

It's a new year tomorrow!!


Wow this year sure did fly by!

Do you make new years resolutions?  Have you made any for the coming year?

I try to stick with just one or two a year.  That way I can give them my focus and really try to make them a habit and part of everyday life.  I don't do the diet, exercise more or drinking less ones.  Those seem to get off track really easy and they come up again throughout the year anyway. 

A few of years ago I decided to organize myself so I could be diligent in sending out birthday cards, anniversary cards and thank you cards to family and friends.  It worked really well and I'm still doing it.  And it's a small thing that brings a little joy to someone.  It's so much nicer to get a card in the mail than a bill or flyer.

Last year I decided I wanted to try really hard to use less wrapping paper to wrap gifts.  And instead come up with greener and more interesting ways to present a gift.  I was successful a few times and I will continue to try again this year to get more and more gifts wrapping and gift bag free.  

photo from www.freefoto.com
But my resolution for this year is to add more plants to our house and to better tend to our garden this summer.  For years we have only had three fake plants in our house.  That's it.  No real ones.  It's pretty sad.  They look nice but having real plants is so much better.  The problem is that I am the worst at decided what kind of plants would be good in our home and then keeping those plants alive.  This year I really want to put in a better effort so we can reap the benefits of having natural air filters and fragrances in our home.  

And the garden we had last summer was really good and could have been even better if it was tended to.  My excuse?  Well, I can come up with a pile of them but it really doesn't matter, the fact is I just didn't do the work.  This year I want to try harder to provide good food for our family from the convenience of our backyard.  It's fun for the kids to see the vegetables come from tiny seeds and seedlings too.

So, that's me and my changes for the year.  What about you?  What are your plans?  Are they big, small or nothing at all?  I'd love to hear them.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

PB + J Monday

I’t’s Christmas Eve!!!

I can’t believe it’s here already!

Ok, enough about that, back to PB+J Monday

This week I thought I’d share with you an inspiring person and her very green challenge.  Several years ago Vanessa Farquharson decided to challenge herself to a year of becoming more “green”.  Her experience and determination to see the challenge through to the end was very impressive and deserves to be shared.

Here is an excerpt from her blog during the living green challenge, giving a brief explanation of what she was doing.

“Welcome to Green as a Thistle. My name is Vanessa, I'm a journalist at the National Post, based in Toronto. When I saw the documentary An Inconven no, just kidding. Now that organic is the new bl OK, no, seriously now. In short, this blog began somewhere between guilt and earnestness, between dissing Stéphane Dion's dog (named Kyoto) and finding myself amongst a group of eco-hipsters drinking hemp beer at an anti-styrofoam party. I decided to take on a bit of a challenge: Spend each day, for an entire calendar year, doing one thing that betters the environment. The idea was that everything I did, I kept doing (so if I switched brands, it was a permanent switch; if I turned down my thermostat, I kept it down), so that by day 365, I'd be living as green a lifestyle as it gets. It was a gruelling year, but in the end, it proved that being an environmentalist doesn't necessarily mean being a smug hippie, nor does it have to mean compromising aesthetic values or good wine. You can read more about what I learned in my book, Sleeping Naked is Green, or just keep reading this here blog. Now, I'm mostly writing about whatever the heck pops into my head (isn't that a novel concept for a blog?).”

Yes, she is sitting in an empty fridge.
Not using  fridge was one of her challenges.
She has since stopped posting to the blog and moved on to other projects but her living green challenge still sticks with me and you can read all about her amazing year on the blog and in her book “Sleeping Naked is Green”.

Available at Amazon
Take a look at her list of changes, all 366 (because it was a leap year!).  Some of her changes were small (like switching to Eco-dent floss) and some were pretty big (like turning off her oven for good).  She has continued with some of the changes but there are others that were a little too much and she had to let them go.  This list is a great reminder that changes don’t always have to be big, like not using a fridge or a car, but that the small things you do add up and can make a difference.  

Have a beautiful Christmas everyone!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Foodie Friday

households,kitchen tools,kitchen utensils,measuring spoons,Photographs,utensils
I found it!  I found it!

I have been looking for a cooking substitution list for a looooong time.  Ok, I'll admit, I haven't been looking very hard, but it's something that I think about when I want to bake or cook something and I don't have all the ingredients listed in a recipe.  That's when I realize that it would be really nice to have a food substitution list handy.  And then, I forget all about it until the next time. Sigh.

Well this one was delivered right in to my inbox the other day!  Can't get much better than that!  No need to go searching when someone does the work for you.  I receive emails a couple of times a week with recipes or tips to try and it's so convenient.  I feel like I'm being pampered sometimes.

The recipes, and this particular tip (what to substitute), come from one of my favourite sites for looking up recipes.  When I'm at a loss and can't find what I want in my cook books, I consult www.allrecipes.com.  They have everything!  And what's even better is they have great reviews.  I always read a bunch of the reviews from people who have tested the recipe, before I decide to try it myself.  It lets me know what other people had problems with and what they did to make the recipe just that much better, or if it's a recipe that needs to be avoided all together.  If you haven't already taken advantage of it, it's a fantastic resource that I highly recommend.

And...there's an app for it on the Iphone!  So, I don't have to keep running up the stairs (we keep our computer upstairs) to look up a recipe and waste paper to print it off.  I can just do a search on my phone, try the recipe out and if I like it then I can write it down to keep for the future.  Or, I can save it as a favourite in the app.  Ah, technology, what would we do with out you?

Ok, so here is what they sent me this week:

and I then found:

These are two very handy and useful lists to have around!  And now you don't have to search for them either!

Do you have favourite substitutions that you use regularly?  I'd love to hear what they are!  Please share them in the comment section below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

PB + J Monday...Tuesday

Some bloggers decided to take a break from the blogging world yesterday in respect for the innocent victims of the shooting in Connecticut.  I thought I would too and so my PB+J Monday post is a PB+J Tuesday post this week.

I seem to be in a sewing mood lately!  I recently came across this delightful idea for unique and fun ways to gift bottles of wine.   

Repurposed (recycled) sweater sleeves and dress-shirt sleeves!  I love it!  And just like furoshiki the possibilities are endless!

Here is a great little tutorial on how to make a wine bag from a sweater sleeve.  I love the cozy, festive feel of the striped sleeve and the addition of the trim.  It’s so simple and yet so great!  Who wouldn't be impressed when they see you coming to their party carrying this!

From Oh My! Creative

Here is another tutorial that shows a more stable bottom to the bag using an old sweater or pair of pants (the purple bag on the table). 

Finished sleeve, tied with ribbon
From Off Beat at Home

And here is another more sophisticated idea.  Great for the Christmas office party!  I love the idea of adding cufflinks to finish it off.  I can’t seem to find where this picture came from.  I think it originated on Etsy though. 

Can't find where this picture is from

And here's a few more to finish this post off and maybe get your creative juices flowing too.
From Kojo Designs
I love the pom poms on this one!

Sweater wine gift bags from Paper and Parcel
They don't sell these anymore but the picture is gorgeous

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How do you hide Holiday Gifts?

We all use it but, the closet is not always the ideal place to hide holiday gifts from your children or even your prying spouse.

Here are some creative and fun suggestions
to keep your carefully chosen gifts a secret until the big day.

bows,boxes,celebrations,Christmas,presents,gifts,hands,holding,holidays,special occasions,women,Yuletides~Ask a friend or relative to store the presents for you at their house.  You can offer to do the same for them.

~Keep the gifts in the trunk of the car that gets parked in the garage.  Just be sure that the kids do not have access to your keys or have a tendency to go into the car unsupervised.

~Delay buying gifts until a couple of days prior to the holiday.  This way the temptation for children to look for their gifts is not there. 

~Check to see if any online retailers have the option to choose your own shipping dates.  This way you may be able to target your delivery closer to the holidays.

~Hide gifts in plain sight.  Place gifts in everyday boxes or items on the shelf that the kids wouldn't suspect would be hiding a gift.

~Wrap up a gift the recipient wouldn't normally care for and put their name on it. Leave the wrapped box in a place that is not-so-obvious but easy to find, like the top shelf of a closet or hidden under a blanket. That way if it is found the recipient will hopefully stop looking.  And they’ll be very surprised Christmas morning.

~Use unusual containers to hide the items. Empty food boxes, like cereal, granola bars, etc are perfect for hiding smaller items right under their noses.

~Think of places they never go or are not allowed to go like under the sink, a special room in the basement, garage storage or attic.

~One place most teenagers would never look is the parent’s underwear drawers. I think that’s a great place for hiding small gift items.

~Hide the gifts in your unused luggage. Empty suitcases can hold a lot of presents!

baggage,luggage,Photographs,suitcases,travel~If you have smaller gifts, use pockets of clothes that are hanging in your closet.

~Use the Christmas storage boxes. After you pull out the decorations you have lots of empty space just waiting to be filled.

~A friend of mine codes her gifts instead of tagging them.  Each year there is a different code that has to be cracked. One year the colour of the wrapping determined which gift belonged who which kid.  Another year it was the number of pieces of tape used.  It's fun and keeps them guessing right to the end.

 ~And if you are really serious, put the gifts behind locked doors. Some closets have locks on them and that might be your only option in the end.

Do you have more ideas on how to hide gifts?  What do you do at your house?  I’d love to hear it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



Use coupon code FREESHIP  in my SHOP to receive this great offer!

It is only good TODAY and
ONLY good for shipping within Canada.

There are lots of other great shops offering free shipping today too!  Check out the list of shops here: www.freeshippingday.ca


Today is FREE SHIPPING day in Canada!!!!

to see all the online shops offering FREE SHIPPING today!!!

And visit 
for last minute gifts and FREE SHIPPING within Canada

Wordless Wednesday

All the better to see you with my dear!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

PB + J Monday...er Tuesday

A day late....

I was having a terrible time trying to get blogger to work yesterday!  I have something really fun to share for PB+J Monday and I couldn't share it!  Anyway, I think I figured it out and here we are.  Hoorah!

Yesterday morning, I realized that I hadn't prepared anything for PB+J Monday and decided that I'd just browse the internet to see if I could find something interesting to share.  But first I wanted to relax a bit and read my Canadian Living Magazine.  I've had it for over a week but haven't have the time to crack it open.  I had a spare minute yesterday so I casually flipped through some of the pages.

They always have some great and simple crafts and green tips.  I wasn't expecting to find this week's post...b ut I did!  I am so excited about this.  I have finished my custom orders for Christmas and am taking a break from burning to enjoy the holidays, so now I am at the stage of planning holiday baking and wrapping gifts.

This is not the one I made
At the beginning of the year I had vowed to try to find greener ways to give gifts, instead of the usual wrapping paper or gift bags.  I managed to come up with a few ideas through out the year but I confess I didn't always try really hard when I was in a mad rush and running late.  The one I'm proudest of was a gift presented in a hollowed out book that I hollowed myself.  It was a lot of work but really fun to make!!  And the gift receiver, my brother, seemed to enjoy it too.  If you're interested you can learn how to do it here.

Anyway, back to this post.

I have been trying to come up with a fun way to wrap our gifts for our nephews.  I thought about wrapping them up with a crazy carpet and twine.  That way they can use the "wrapping" on the snow hills later.  They are really inexpensive and bend easily and they come in fun colours!  I may still do that so don't tell them!!

But what to do for everyone else??

Well, this is where my Canadian Living magazine came in.  It reintroduced me to wrapping with fabric.  This is not new, I know that, but, for whatever reason I had forgotten about it.  What a simple and ridiculously "green" way to wrap just about anything!!!  And fun!!!  The fabric possibilities are endless!  And then receiver can use it again for just about anything after wards.  It's a win-win all the way around!

Furoshiki originated in Japan as a way for people to carry their items from one place to another.  They are just simple squares of cloth that can be folded to wrap and carry just about any object.

I'm not the greatest sewer but my creative juices are really flowing and now I am on the hunt (looking through my fabric bins and maybe a fabric store or two) to find fun fabric to make into furoshiki wrapping cloths.  The magazine's website had a quick tutorial (see below) on how to make the cloths and a video. I also found another video online that shows ways to wrap a variety of gifts and even make a bag.  The music is fun and upbeat too.  And scroll down to see beautiful images of furoshiki at work.

Click here to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn6zdyCAwJs
Canadian Living video:  http://video.canadianliving.com/1907679901001/How_to_wrap_gifts_in_fabric_using_Japanese_furoshiki_techniques

You can learn more about the cloths on this website:  www.furoshiki.com or there are lots of shops on Etsy that sell the cloths aswell.  Just do a search for furoshiki and you'll be delighted with what comes up.

Here is the tutorial (as described in the Canadian Living magazine) for making your own reversible wrapping furoshiki cloth:

2 pieces of lightweight quilting cotton in contrasting colours (1x1.1m/40x4.4inches to 1.2x1.1m/48x44inches)
Thread to match
Rotary cutter, acrylic ruler and self-healing cutting mat
Knitting needle or chopstick
wash-out fabric marker or pencil

1. Prepare fabric: Using rotary cutter and acrylic ruler and working on self-healing mat, cut fabric squares.
2. Make furoshiki: Place squares, right sides together, on work surface, smoothing out wrinkles and aligning edges.
3. Pin together along each edge, leaving 8cm (3inch) gap at centre of 1 edge.  Mark beginning and end of gap with extra pins.
4. Starting and stopping at either side of the gap and using 1 cm (1/2inch) seam allowance, stitch squares together, removing pins as you stitch and back-stitching at beginning and end.
5. With scissors, trim seam allowances at each corner.
6. Turn right side out through gap.  Use knitting needle to poke out corners. Press raw edges inside and pin.
7. Press remaining edges and pin layers together along each edge.  Measure 1 cm (1/2inch) in from each edge; with fabric marker, mark where measurements intersect to create pivot points.
8. Topstitch square, 1 cm (1/2inch) from edges pivoting at each pivot point.  Press.

Isn't this pretty?  It's a dishtowel.  From http://www.thekitchn.com

Bag ideas from http://myfuroshiki.blogspot.ca
Quilted furoshiki from http://www.instructables.com

Showing the versatility! From http://ohjoy.blogs.com

Happy Wrapping!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Favourite Cookie!

I am a cookie monster!  There aren't many cookies out there that I won't eat.  There are a few, but not many. 

I discovered these just a couple of years ago and now I can't stop making them.  I feel kind of bad for the kids because these don't last long in our house and they usually only get to munch of a few from each batch!

Here is the recipe.  It's from the back of a package of Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli.  I'm sure you could use any muesli but his is soooo good!  I add a couple more things to it to make them just a little easier on the conscience to have more than one.  Enjoy!!

You can find more delicious Bob's Red Mill recipes here: http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.php

Chocolate Chip Muesli Cookies

1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 Tbsp Wheat Germ
1/2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1/2 cup Butter or Non-hydrogenated Margarine, soft
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
6 oz Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 375°F. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. Blend butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture and mix. Stir in Muesli and chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 24 cookies.

Notice the shadow on the wall behind.  These had just come out of the oven and B wanted to have one, but it was time for bed and I wouldn't give in.  He was not a happy kid.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Who is this Elf on a Shelf?

I feel like I've entered some sort of twilight zone.  Until just recently I had never heard of the "Elf on the Shelf" doll or the tradition that goes along with it.  It wasn't something our family did and growing up I'd never heard any of my friends talk about it so I didn't know it existed.  It's only just been this fall that I've been seeing this doll everywhere!  At least it feels that way.  I can't seem to escape its little plastic frozen stare.  

Before I learned about the commercialized "Elf on the Shelf" I was introduced to these lovely elves by Pigswife on Etsy.  I just adore them.  They are handcrafted with love and are so special because not one of them is like another.  They are each different in their own way and they have little personalities which shine through.
SOLD Buddy the Elf Boy Christmas Doll Amigurumi Crochet Doll
This guy is fashioned after "Buddy" from the movie "Elf"
Boy Crochet Elf Christmas Doll Amigurumi
Girl Christmas Elf Doll Crochet Amigurumi

After falling in love with these beauties I can't stand to look at the commercial version.  It holds no meaning for me from childhood memories and instead looks quite creepy, cheap and massed produced.  I don't see anything cute or adorable in it at all.

I like the idea of hiding it every morning for the family (kids) to find.  That is a fun tradition that I may start with my kids next Christmas.  But I will be using our unique and beautiful Christmas elf instead.

Our elf with Marcel the cat

This is our Christmas elf.  She watches over the kids and reports back to Santa.

I apologize if this offends anyone, I am just sharing how I feel.

How do you feel?  Do you have one of the "Elf on a Shelf"s?  Do you hide it for your kids to find?  Is it a long standing tradition in your family from when you were a kid?  Or is it new to you too?  I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuscan Lazy Susan

Last week I had a special request for a lazy susan with a tuscan design.  I enjoyed putting the design together and this is the final piece.

To see more custom orders I've done please take a look at the "my work" tab at the top of my blog.

Monday, December 3, 2012

PB + J Monday

Have you seen this company before? EKO BEAR

Eko Bear

They make eco-friendly toys from recycled milk containers and other environmentally friendly materials.

 We have a few of their toys and the boys love them.  They're big, bright, durable and really fun!  My boys are rough on their toys and these guys hold their own against everything my kids throw at them. Plus they are made in the USA!  Check out their website for arts and crafts, books and puzzles, pretend play, bath toys and so much more.  You are sure to find something perfect to give any little ones on your list.  And you'll feel good knowing you've given something green.

These are some of the toys my boys have. We've had them for years and they still play with them and they are still in great condition.
Recycling Truck
Tea set