Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Successful Sale!

I was part of an Open House sale (my first ever) as one of three handcrafting ladies which was held at my sister-in-law Leona's house over the weekend.

Things have been pretty quiet here on the blog lately as getting ready for this sale and caring for the plants  needed for the upcoming plant sale has kept both Holly and I hopping!

It was totally worth it though. We met many lovely ladies and snacked on the delicious chocolate chip squares provided by my mother-in-law as well as the fabulous garlicky hummus Leona made. For those who enjoy a little wine, a few varieties were offered allowing us to sip while we chatted and people shopped.

Check out my set up and wares. . .  (Morgan and Henry obligingly made me these beautiful cedar boxes the day before the sale!)

Can you believe I found this sweet vintage baby scale at Goodwill???  For $25?!!

Yes those are real hydrangeas! 

I sold the majority of my concrete leaves and terrariums as well as bits of everything else I had for sale (clay tags were also very popular).

This one (everyone's favorite) went to my mom for Mother's day.

All in all? A very successful sale!

Next up? The plant sale. I'll be open Friday and Saturday on the Mother's day weekend and then closed more or less until the Friday of the long weekend. Of course if during the week I'm closed, you suddenly have an urgent need for plants and can't wait until the long weekend, feel free to call or e-mail me and we will work out a time for you to drop by and do a little shopping.

Now I'm off to do a few supper dishes, eat a delicious donut with my tea as a reward and then head off to bed  for a good night's sleep.

Life is good.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Big Sale this Weekend!

We are having a big sale this weekend!

Holly and I have been hard at work on lots of different things, getting ready for the sale. I had hoped to have pictures of some of the items in the shop over at Growing Wisdom but I have only manage to do a few so far.

Hopefully I can get a few more posted tomorrow afternoon and you can check things out before the sale.

Also thanks to Nicole East at LemonTree Avenue , Growing Wisdom has a new look. Thanks Nicole! I love it!

Check it out!

I'm thinking I may have to purchase this as well, which she sells in her other shop.

They are all so pretty!

Now I have to get back to it.

Tomorrow will be here before you know it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring In Alberta

Spring is Alberta can be elusive. Fickle even.

One day the sun shines, the snow begins to melt and your heart warms.

Spring is here!

Then the snow begins once again.

There are days, weeks even, where you become convinced that this is the year we will skip spring altogether.  Go straight from winter into summer.

Some years . . . it has nearly done just that.

The trick is to look closely . . . and quickly. Spring shows herself here in Alberta, you just have to know what to look for.

What is more fun in the spring than 'crack ice???'


Catching a few warm rays on a bench overlooking the river valley?

Jada's not too sure about that.

Her favorite spring activity is looking for the best grass to graze on once the snow starts receding. (We've tried to tell her she's a dog not a cow . . . but . . .  somehow. . .  when it comes to just the right kind of grass, she doesn't seem to care!)

Of course you can't find spring without looking every where. Jada likes to keep a close eye on the path leading to the river . . .

Spring comes slowly most years . . . but it always comes. And the snow leaves.

And the flowers arrive.

The forecast for this week is wonderful.  Temperatures are finally on the rise. Plants are moving into the greenhouse today and, if I have a few spare minutes, I'm going to snip back a few of those tired looking, dried out iris leaves in the front garden.

It's time to make room for a new gardening season.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bursting at the Seams.

We are bursting at the seams these days.

Plants have taken over nearly every corner of the house, not to mention all the other things we've been madly working on for next week's sale.

Things are coming to a head. I was planning to start moving plants into the greenhouse over the next few days but it looks like we're going to have one more very cold night. Since next week's forecast is excellent, Monday is the day.

And not a moment too soon!

Colocasia and dracena

plants under lights

plants under lights

plants under lights

plants under lights

plants under lights

plants under lights

Now it's time to get back to work!

The Craft Of Photography

The things I do to improve my photography skills . . .

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Libray

While trying to check out my stack of books from the library last week, I was told it was time for a new card.

Edmonton Public Library is celebrating 100 years so I got a free book bag and the opportunity to pick one of four colours and sayings on my new card.

This is what I went with . . .

I love the library! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Reading and Creating.

It's busy over here.

Plants need constant watering, flyer's need to be made, everything about running a business needs to be learned, how best to market my business needs to be considered and . . . the goods I hope to sell need to be designed and made. (So much fun!)

Today is errand day as Holly, my Girl Friday and I search out everything needed to finish making all these goods before our sale next week Friday.

A quick peek at what I am reading right now as well as what we have been creating just for you . . .

clay tags
The book 'Cheap' is NOT about making cheap goods but about the effect cheap goods has had on our culture.
Clay tags and wood butter.

clay tags
Clay tags are great for embellishing so many things . . . gifts, jars, vases, napkins . . . the only limit is your imagination!

packaged clay tags
Pretty packaging for a Mother's day gift

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Glass Easter Basket

glass easter basket

Okay, okay, I know Easter is long gone but I just had to share this.

You can thank me for getting you ready for next Easter. . .

Every one at my house is grown up now but . . . they like their little bit of Easter candy.

We've never gone overboard in this regard as candy is not what Easter is all about. But I have such fond memories of Easter as a child, dressed in a pretty new dress, lacy socks, patent shoes, gloves and a fancy purse that matched my sisters' purses ( yes, I am that old) all of which somehow spoke to me more of spring than anything, that I couldn't give celebrating the coming season all together.

When the kids were small they each received a little basket , as did Henry, who became quite indignant when he learned I hadn't intended to give him a basket at all.

The years passed, the kids got older and I tried unsuccessfully to let this little tradition go. Once again Henry became quite indignant.

So I switched to one communal basket.

I was feeling rather nostalgic this year and wanted to do individual baskets again. But money's pretty tight right now, so buying four plastic baskets was too frivolous. What to do, what to do. . .

Shopping the day before Easter Sunday all Easter candy was 50% off. Whoo Hoo!

I came home and started shopping my shelves.

 Hmmm. . . What about these beautiful Scottish glass dishes I picked up at a flea market for next to nothing?? They have a bit of depth, so that might work.

 But now for some basket filler. . .  I threw out the last of the colored plastic Easter basket filler long ago. What else might work. . . . Wait what about that shredded crimped brown paper I saved from a Christmas basket four years ago???  Perfect!

It's still missing something though.

Hang on . . . there are bound to be some great printables for Easter . . . something with a vintage feel.
And indeed there was. If I had done this post right after Easter I would probably even have had the link to the page I found it on, but, I'm afraid my plants and the goods I'm making for my upcoming sales have left me slightly scatterbrained. I'll do better next time.

At least, I hope I will. Henry would probably tell you not to hold your breath . . . 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Best. Sugar. Cookies. Ever.

I made my all time favorite sugar cookies yesterday.

Real butter . . . white sugar . . . real vanilla . . . and a hint of lemon, courtesy of finely grated lemon rind.

I came upon this recipe in a rather strange way. I was at a farmers market one Saturday and a lady selling prepackaged bean soup and cookie mixes offered me a sugar cookie sample. I took it with no great expectations, after all, even if she had put the mixes together herself, it was still a mix. . . right?

Seriously? Best. sugar. cookie. ever!

A bit of crunch on the outside, soft and melty on the inside and a hint of lemon.

I walked away with a bag of cookie mix.

Every so often I would indulge myself with a bag. But people??? It did not come cheap! And I like to bake stuff from scratch so it just killed me to pay good money for a mix when I was sure I could figure it out myself.

Except, I wasn't all that sure that I could.

One afternoon I gave myself a firm talking to.  "Was I, or was I not, my father's daughter?"
He would be horrified to know I was paying good money for a mix when all it would take was a little research and a lot of trial and error to recreate this cookie. "What was I waiting for??"

Thankfully, I still had the ingredient and instruction list from the mix to start with.

Flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda were in the mix.( Can you see why it made me crazy to pay $7 to make 3 dozen cookies?) I hadn't even added my own butter yet! I had to add soft butter, an egg, vanilla and the finely grated rind from a lemon. That's it. But what were the proportions???

I started googling sugar cookie recipes with that ingredient list. It wasn't easy. Almost all the recipes had salt in them. I didn't want salt!

I finally found one that was close. I tried it out. Not bad, but . . . not the best sugar cookie ever. I fiddled. I read through all the comments on the recipe. I fiddled some more and . . . at last . . . The best. sugar. cookie. ever!

I'll show you . . .

lemon sugar cookie

lemon sugar cookie

lemon sugar cookie

lemon sugar cookie

lemon sugar cookie

Lemon Sugar Cookies.

1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup soft butter
fine zest from 1 lemon
1 egg
 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla
2 3/4 cup of flour (I start with 2 1/2 and add extra if needed to make the dough rollable)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

  • Cream butter and sugar very well. This is extremely important. The butter and sugar must be very light before you move on to the next step. Beat it until you think you're done and then beat it a little more.
  • Add lemon zest. Beat well.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • Blend in dry ingredients  Do not over beat as your cookies will become tough  Mix just until all the ingredients are blended into a softish dough. (It still works if the dough is a bit stiff as well)
  • Put some (extra) sugar on a plate.
  • Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and coat with sugar.
  • Place on ungreased cookies sheets. (I line them with parchment paper)
  • Bake for 8 minutes exactly. Don't worry about whether they have browned or not. They wont. If you bake them for too long they will become hard. 
  • Take out of oven and leave on tray for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from tray and cool on wire racks.
  • Store in cookie tin.
  • They dry out very quickly, so I always put the majority of them in a freezer bag and hide store them in the freezer.
  • Makes approx. 75 small cookies. 
Are these a little fiddly?

No doubt about it. I save them for special occasions. (Sometimes I make up special occasions . . .)

After all, these are the best. sugar. cookies. ever. Better even, than the ones I started out trying to recreate.

As we speak? Two luscious cookies are thawing out on the desk in front of me

Oh my.

Dad would be proud.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Real Life

Plant in a sink

There is dirt from one end of my house to another . . .

Monday, April 1, 2013

A photography challenge . . . Or, What happened to Holly's head?

I've decided to once again take a stab at the Daily Glimpse photo challenge.

Today's word was silhouette.

Awesome! Something easy to start with.

It also gave me a chance to play with Photoshop for the first time. I've finished the first four out of twelve lessons on that.

Holly and I took Jada for a walk at the dog park, the perfect opportunity.

My creative vision was the two of us waving and taking a picture of the shadows. (No comments on the actual creativity of that plan please!)

Here's what I actually got:

silhoutte photo

Some rather odd looking wings growing out of Holly's neck. (Or . . . maybe one wing and one scarf end standing straight up?)

I decided to just go with it. I figured it was at least slightly more creative than waving would have been . . .

Tomorrow's word???

Real Life.

Hmmm. . .

 The possibilities are endless. Jesse still asleep at supper time (true story), yesterday's dishes hiding in the oven (another true story), fur balls the size of a basketball under the coffee table. (possibly exaggerated true story.)

Tune in tomorrow to find out just what real life looks like over here.
© A Life of Whimsey