Saturday, August 29, 2009

Polymer Clay for a Cause on Etsy

There are quite a few shops on Etsy that are using their sales to donate to various charities. This one in particular is one of my favourites. PolymerClayforaCause is run by a very talented polymer clay artist, who started this shop in honor of her daughter Cortney, who had Muscular Dystrophy. For more information, please check out the awesome artwork in her shop,

She also accepts donations of artwork by other polymer clay artists to sell in her non-profit shop.
Here is just a few of the wonderful items she has available! Feel free to click on the pictures to go to that listing and see who donated the piece to PolymerClayforaCause!

Little Baby Charity has arrived........

Here kitty....kitty

Silver Shimmer Necklace

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Fruits of my Labour of Love

I decided to take pictures of all the canning and jamming I have been doing lately.

Turns out I have accomplished a fair bit!

16 quarts (Litres) canned sweet Bing Cherries

7 quarts canned blueberries

2 quarts, 1 pint, & 4 (250mL) little jars of raspberry jam

21 quarts, & 44 pints of canned peaches

75 250mL jars of peach jam

28 250mL jars of peach chutney


5 extra large bags of strawberries

10 2cup bags of peas

19 2cup bags of shredded zuchinni

2 extra large bags of raspberries

28 2cup bags of sour red cherries

And I am not done yet. I do hope to make some zuchinni relish, corn mustard relish, and freeze some bags of apples for winter. Oh, and I must not forget. I am going to get 2 bushels of tomatoes and one bushel of peppers to freeze for winter as well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peach Cobbler

Wednesday was another day off of work, so I got up at my regular time (5:30 AM) and was hard at work in the kitchen by 7 AM.

I canned 2 more batches of peaches, made one more batch of peach chutney and made 3 more double batches of peach jam.

Still having some peaches left, I made the boys a peach cobbler for dessert tonight after dinner. I threw in some left over blueberries for the extra little kick.

And I still have peaches left! I think this weekend I will make some peach pies.

Peach Cobbler

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

4 cups slices peaches

1 tsp lemon juice

3 Tbs Margerine (I use butter)

1 cup flour

1 Tbs sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400

Mix the sugar, starch and cinnamon in a saucepan. Stir in peaches & lemon juice. Heat it to boiling, stirring constantly until it thickens. Boil for 1 minute.

Pour into ungreased 2 quart pan, and keep it hot in the oven.

Mix together in a large bowl the flour, 1 Tbs sugar, baking powder, & salt. Cut in margerine (butter) until it looks like fine crumbs. Mix in milk. Drop by teaspoon into peach mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Canned Ontario Peaches

I spent all day yesterday canning my peaches. I slept in until 8 am which is highly unusual for me, so I had a late start. I did not get into the kitchen until 9 am. By 5 pm I had managed to can 6 batches. 21 quarts/litres and 27 pints/500mL

Pretty easy to can peaches, really. Just pour boiling water over the peaches, and let sit for a couple minutes. Then put them in cold water for a minute to cool down a bit. Score an X on the bottom of a peach, slit it in half, slip the skin off, and slit it again into quarters. Remove the quarters from the pit, and keep doing this, putting them into your jars as you go.

As I fill each jar I add a light syrup (1 cup sugar to 4 cups water, boiling), and put on the snap lid and screw top. Next I put the jars into my boiling water canner (I do not have a pressure canner) and boil for about 25 minutes for quarts, or 20 minutes for pints.

I still have about 1/3 of my mountain of peaches left, so will make another batch of peach chutney tomorrow and a double batch of jam in addition to canning the rest of the grade #1 peaches.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall trip

My first crop of raspberries has been done for about 2 weeks now, and the second crop is already starting to ripen. So far the canes are loaded. Here is to hoping for a great crop!

I was planning on sending my father a jar for his birthday in September, but that plan has changed. Now I am sending him my son and I for a visit! It has been a year and a half since I was last able to go visit my family in Winnipeg, and about 4 years since my son was there. The entire family (mom, dad, sister, and 2 nephews) is just as excited about it as we are.

We are going for 10 days and already my "agenda" is filling up. We will arrive on a Wednesday, and will be picked up by my parents at the airport. We will go to my sister's house, and meet her there. I am hoping that her two sons might be there too. I did not get to see the oldest one last time I visited, so it would be nice to see him this time.

Our Special Angels on Etsy

This is a group that was formed to assist disabled young people to grow and flourish through the art of crafting. The Angels group has been able to provide training and leadership to over 70 teens and adults over the years, and it continues to grow. Please consider visiting their shop on Etsy at

2 Checkered Coffee Embroidered Terry Cloth Towels

I purchased a set of these hand towels from them, and they are wonderful!!
Feel free to click on any of these pictures to visit that listing page.

12 x 12 Hemstitched Pillowcase - Halloween Bear in Pajamas

Embroidered Free Standing Lace - The Last Supper - UNFRAMED

Mallard Embroidered Purse

Monday, August 24, 2009

Peach Chutney

With the huge pile of peaches I have, I decided I was going to make peach chutney. I have made this before, a couple years ago actually, and we loved it.

Peach Apple & Raisin Chutney

6 cups peeled and chopped peaches
4 cups peeled and chopped apples
2 cups raisins
4 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cider or malt vinegar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Combine into large saucepan, and cook at a low simmer for about an hour, until sauce has thickened. Put into hot, sterilized jars, clean the rim and put on the snap lids and screw tops.

Makes about 10 8oz jars, or 4-5 pints.

You will know if you have a good seal after cooling by the dip in the lid. If it does not pop, or moves down when you press on the lid after 24 hours it is not sealed.

Store in a cool dark place.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ontario Peaches

Such a lovely fruit, so golden, sweet and juicy! I buy my peaches from The Red Barn in Arkona, Ontario and every year I buy enough that I can make jam and have about 20 one litre jars of them for winter. Nothing better in the middle of a cold and dreary winter than peaches that you preserved yourself!

Yesterday, I made jam out of 1/3 of a bushel of peaches. This made 41 8oz jars of jam. I still have 2/3 of a bushel left, and I have 2 bushels of freestone peaches for the canned peaches. I had to run to the store to buy more jars, and more screw rings.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flower beds

It is the time of year for my husband and I try to decide just what type of seeds I am going to buy and sow in the flower beds. The plan is to to a fair bit of rearranging the spring bulbs and other perennials, add more mulch, sow some seeds and get the wood chip mulch. So far, I have ordered some pansies, sweet williams, and aster seeds. My plan is to sow some this fall, and see if any of them come up in the spring. Never having done it this way before, I am not too certain how that will turn out.

I did make an order for some bulbs. I am getting more daffodils, tulips and some mountain lilies. I also ordered some more early snow glories. I do so love bulbs!

One thing that must be done, is I have a large number of clumps of sea thrift that has grown past their optimal size (in my opinion) and I would like to spread them out over all 5 flower beds. They are very interesting plants, as the root system grows in a spiral down to a point. So sometimes when you devide them, you end up with little tiny fluffs of "grass" with a curly pig-tail shaped root. I do lose some over winter as a rule, but most of them survive quite nicely. They do not mind too much salt during the winter months but too much will kill them, so I ensure they are at least 1-1.5 feet from the sidewalks.

I tried in early summer to devide and transplant some carpet (spring) phlox after they were finished blooming. That did not seem to go over very well, and by the looks of it, I lost most of them. Sad, since there was two very nice bi-coloured ones, in white and pink. This time I am going to choose one of my largest ones, and take out some pieces of it to transplant, leaving the main plant where it is. I am hoping that doing it in the fall will work.

Here is to hoping for a cooler weekend so that I may be able to get a fair bit accomplished!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Brynn Alex on Etsy

Here is a favourite shop of mine on Etsy. All proceeds from Brynnalex is donated to a charity, the Brynn Proctor Suddes Memorial Arts Bursary(scholarship) Fund In Memory of Brynn, Dec. 14, 1994 - Jan. 2, 2007. For more information please feel free to go to or click on any of the following pictures of some gorgeous items in her shop!

I have purchased a number of gorgeous cards from Brynnalex, and will be definately buying more in the future!

Trio Of Greetings - Three NoteCards By Brynn to Benefit Heart Strings

Mariner's Compass Wallhanging By DeerSprite To Benefit Heart Strings

Ocean Breeze Hat By MizDarlin To Benefit Heart Strings

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ontario Blueberries

I am cutting it very closely this year with getting and preserving my winter supply of blueberries. Every year I get a few 7 litre baskets of those blue globes of goodness and freeze them so that I can enjoy them all year round. I jam them, make them into muffins, pancakes, jams, coffee cakes, or even just throw some on my cereal. Yummy goodness!

The gorgeous bowl is one I got from a wonderful potter who has a shop on Etsy, called Adornyourself. Isn't it wonderful?!

This year, my husband suggested that I try and can a batch and see how they turn out. I know the cherries we did worked wonderfully, so I am pretty certain the blueberries will too.

I am wondering though, are these going to hold their lovely berry shape, or will they be more like little mushies?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heat Wave

What a heat wave we have been having with the humidity up so high, it makes it difficult to even breath. For those of us with asthma it is even worse, as it feels as if you are being smothered by a pillow.

Our air conditioner is finding it very hard to lower the temperature in the house now too.

Forecast is looking up though, it says it should be in the mid to lower 20's by the end of the week. I have my fingers crossed!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our newest Kitten, Slinky

He is so adorable! I forgot just how active and funny young cats are. He is making sure to remind me though!

Running, playing, mmrrrring and romping, then sleeping it off until the next episode an hour later!

Slinky is no longer stinky, and is adjusting well enough that he feels comfortable in playing with my hands now. I have a couple of new scratches attesting to that.

Anything and everything is a toy to him. Empty toilet paper tubes, balls of paper, thread spools (full ones, not empty ones), pens, and anything else that makes a noise or rolls. He even found a ball of Leo's hair and plays with that!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clear Wing Hummingbird Moth

Our little friend showed up this summer! It has been about 2 years since I saw him last, and I was very pleased to see him visiting my tall phlox the other night.

This little moth looks so much like a little hummingbird! His wings flap so fast just like a hummingbird that he is able to hover. He has a striped body, and the rudder-shaped rear allows for very quick maneuvering. He also has a long tongue that helps him drink from deep flowers such as glads, and phlox.

Isn't he adorable?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Storm chimes

Recently I put out one of my sets of bamboo windchimes that I have been making, and found out that it is a wonderful way of tracking just when a storm is going to hit. It can be perfectly calm, no wind at all, and then suddenly a strong wind will pick up and set it to chiming. It also helps to determine just how "gusty" the wind might be.

My husband suggested that rather than calling them windchimes, to call them Storm Chimes. I decided that is a wonderful idea!

So, now that my order of satin cord has arrived, keep an eye out in my etsy shop for more "storm chimes"! I have new ideas and designs for the clappers and the wind catcher pendant on the bottom.

Friday, August 14, 2009


In so many ways, Thank Goodness It's Friday!

What a week it has been. From vandalism to my car (attempted and accomplished) and to my husband's poor volunteer sunflowers that were cut down, to a broken washing machine (with a full load of his work clothes).

Our new little kitty Slinky had been let out of the house last Tuesday by my dear husband who thought that one week was long enough, that he would come back to a warm, safe house with lots of food. Well, he did not come back for a whole week and I was getting quite worried, to be honest.

Wednesday morning as hubby was brushing his teeth, he looked out the kitchen window and saw Slinky! He called me downstairs, I opened the kitchen door and called out to him. Slinky came running and I got him inside. Now he is to be an indoor kitty for the next 6 weeks or so. He is due for his booster shots and a second deworming in two weeks time, and I will keep him inside for another month after that. By that time he should know where home is!

I am soooo looking forward to a nice weekend, that I may be able to relax, and maybe work a bit on my crafts.

I am also working on learning a new craft, but not going to tell you about it until I am ready and have something to show. Have to keep up the suspence, don't I ?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Too much rain?

This summer has been a very wet one in so many ways. Raining almost every three days or so, and for the last couple of weeks, it has been almost daily. I did lose some of my raspberries (about 1/3 of them) due to the over-abundance of rain, but I did not have too many lost due to molds. More like, they got too ripe too fast, and fell before I could get to them.

The birds and the bugs have been able to feast quite nicely! At least this time I did not end up with the little black spots that I had last year. Of course, the season for my berries (being the everbearing kind) is not over yet. The next group will start to ripen over the next few weeks and will continue until frost.

As you have seen in prior posts my volunteer zuchinni has been doing very well, and has actually provided some really huge zuchinnis. Mind you, those we allow to grow just to see how big they will get. I do not use them for cooking or freezing for winter. It is quite difficult to time it just right to be able to pick them at the perfect size. Now, the ones my husband planted by seeds are quickly catching up in size and are producing very well indeed.

The leeks are growing huge, and the onions are also doing well. My tomatoes are a mixed lot, of at least 5 different varieties, and some of them are doing better than others. The cherry tomatoes are doing well, the romas too. The beefsteak kind are not doing so good though. Lots of blight on these and I am afraid I will not get any out of those plants. I may have to buy a bushel or two from a local farmer in order to have enough for winter preserves.

As I do not use any pesticides, or herbicides, it has cause some difficulties in preventing the mold/rot on the tomatoes. Hopefully it will not affect my 2nd batch of raspberries.

My peppers are starting to produce as well, and I got two nice little peppers so far.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The closet

Today I took a big step. I realised that all of my clothes that I have been saving for years in hopes of them fitting again, was a waste of space. I filled two large plastic bags with clothes still in excellent condition, and walked them over to a bin that is for the diabetic association. Feel much better now!

Mind you, it just gives me a good reason to tell my husband that I need to go clothes shopping again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Raspberry Jelly

Yesterday I decided that it was time to make some of my favourite jelly, Raspberry! I still had raspberries in my freezer from last year and wanted to make room for this season's berries, so I took out the 3 large freezer bags full and defrosted them. It gave me enough juice to make 3 batches of jelly.

I do keep about one tablespoon of seeds in each batch, as I have found that it helps it set better.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A very strange summer

This summer is one of the strangest I have seen since moving here 5 years ago. It seems like it is raining almost every other day, and the humidity is unreal. Last night there was a wicked thunderstorm, and it was not a short one either. The light show lasted for at least 3 hours, and when the lightening strikes started coming closer we knew we were in for a bad one.

The road lights actually went out a few times, but it never did in the house. It was enough to trip the breaker for the air conditioner but not the computers or the clocks. Now that is unusual in itself. We were awake for the entire storm, and finally went to sleep sometime after midnight.

With the jet stream all over the place, and snapping southward rather than northward (where it should be this time of year) it is playing havoc with our weather and our bodies themselves. At least now I know one reason why I have, in the past 3 years, been battling severe headaches that can last up to 3 or 4 days at a time. But recently, over the last 2 months, it has progressed into having scintillating auras. Apparently, this means that I have been having migraines.

Most often migraines have the auras, and severe headpain with sensitivity to light and sound. This can also include nausea. For me, I have 3 different symptoms. First, I am nauseaus for about 2-3 days. Second, I either have the headache with photophobia (sensitivity to light) and hyperacusis or phonophobia (sensitivity to sound), or the scintillating aura. Usually after 3-4 days of the second symptom, the third one will appear. So far I have had that aura about 4 times and it takes at least 30 - 60 minutes for it to go away. I also have the "blind spots" that can last up to 3 hours afterwards.

This last time though, I was at work when the aura appeared. In fact, I knew it was going to happen because it seemed as though my vision/eyes were all jumpy. So, as soon as the aura appeared, I went to one of the doctors I work for and asked him if there was something I could try. I was given 3 different medications to try (only one at a time though!) and I chose to try the Maxalt. I did not notice anything immediately, but it has been a week now since that aura and the 3rd symptom has not appeared. I did have some tension in my neck and at the base of my skull, but no pain!

For those of you who are interested in reading more about migraines, check out wikipedia. I have found that to be a good sourse of information.