Friday, November 21, 2014

Cowichan style Baby Toque

Cowichan Style Baby Toque

What You Need:

10mm circular needles

3 Colors of Extra Chunky Yarn
- Could use two color if desired.
-Dark brown, light brown, grey and cream are the traditional colors

Printable pattern below

What I did:

Cast on 36 st 
Follow pattern below
If you want to increase the ribbing. Knit 2 extra rows ribbing and one extra rows between row 4 and 5, and remove row 17.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Hair cleaning Journey: Natual shampoo

The truth is I hate the name for natural shampoo "no-pooing". Why is it called nopooing. It sounds gross, I don't want to associate my hair with poop! It actually makes me think of rubbing dog poop in my hair.

I used to have dreads(I'm the one with dreads in the picture), and though they were just as clean as most people hair, I washed them once a week, I heard horror stories. I heard of people who actually put poop in their hair to make their dreads. Thats nasty!

I have always been a more shaping hair washer. I have always cringed if I had to wash my hair two days in a row, but I only recently discovered the natural shampoo.

What I did:

What is natural shampoo? Simply a mixture of baking soda and water.
What is natural conditioner? Simply a mixture of vinegar (apple cider is recommended) and water.
Thats it!
This is the blog that got me started

I first started with natural shampoo and kept to my normal conditioner. I have such thin brittle hair that I often leave the hair dresser with split ends. I have heard lots of blogs where people want you to cold turkey just go for a week with no shampoo and things will get better, but I work in an office, and that just not professional! I star by mixing 50% of my current shampoo with 50% of my natural shampoo. Every time I got half empty on the bottle I topped it up with natural shampoo. I guess I now still have microscopic remains of chemical shampoo, but I think I can live with that. I also slowly added more days to my wash-free routine.

I find its helpful when you go camping. I didn't wash my hair for a few days before the camping trip. Then, I wear lots of bandanas headbands, and keep my hair in french braids the rest of the time. If I go swimming the harder water often pulls some of the grease out. If you do want to go cold turkey, camping would be the best time. I know you cant see my hair too well, but this is probably day 6 of no shampoo on a camping trip.

After I got my courage up I started to do the same with my conditioner. I added a bit of vinegar and water to my current conditioner bottle, and slowly as I used it up I made it more and more natural. I now am finally at pure vinegar and water.

The results

In the end I am quite happy with my hair. I find there are days when my hair actually seems to have some volume! I still use dry shampoo (its actually just baby powder) around day 3 or 4, and have to keep my hair up on days 4-7, which is how I prefer it anyhow. My hair smells normal, and looks normal. It feels healthy and I love it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whalecome: How to paint perfect letters

I have always thought that Whalecome is the funniest word ever. Since the first time I heard it that is (yes I realize its not a real word). It would not be funny for everyone I guess, just nautical lovers probably. I have wanted to make a pillow that says Whalecome for a long time now and I finally did! In fact. I made 2. One for Joss (the sailboat in other posts) and one for Ca-Sea-Ta (my in-laws other boat).

 You can't deny that is the cutest thing ever!


Pillowcase or other surface


Print-out of picture/writing on any type of printer paper

Sharp Ballpoint Pen




What I did:

I chose to put this stencil onto a pillow case, I have also done a similar project on a piece of fabric to make a type of flag. This can also be done on wood, or many other options. 

First cut out the large area with the scissors. The whale in this picture was easy to cut with scissors, but once I got to the letters is when I had to get creative. They were too skinny for my scissors, and my exacto knife ripped the paper so there was not a straight edge. 

Tape the word onto the fabric where you would like it to be so that it does not move. You might need to cut down the paper to include only the letters.

Use your pen to puncture holes in the paper. Once you are done the full word it should look something like this. 

Take the paper off and underneath should look something like this. The second time I did this project I used way less dots because I realized I did not need so many. Less dots = faster.

Consider taking the tape off slowly incase your pen died or a letter was missed for some reason.

Paint inside the dots. 

Finally use the sponge to paint inside the whale stencil. (I painted the whale first, order does not matter) A sponge will give the best results with the paper because you will be only dabbing the fabric. There is almost no chance that the stencil will run on the edges. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Globe: Holds Everything

I have loved maps and globes for a long time. I always loved pulling out the family atlas book and learning about countries I had never heard of. I also, for reasons unknow, have enjoyed many times looking at country and capital city names and  deciding if I could name my children those name. Is Juba (capital of South Sudan) a girls name or a boys name?
Though I do love to look at all the globes in Chapters and Homesense, I think I prefer the older style. I have one in my house right now (below) that looks like someone finger painted the water. Its all streaky. I love it! Thrift stores is my favorite place to get vintage globes. Plus they are much cheaper for the quality. 
I saw a bowl made from a globe on sale online and I knew I had to re-create it!



Wooden Candle stand (or similar item)

Old Book

Rope/twine/cloth (or similar item)

Scissors/exacto knife

Hot glue + white glue


Screw/screw driver (optional)

What I did:

Cut the globe in half. This is by far the most challenging part of the project. Work at it slowly with a sharp exacto knife of scissors. Have patience.

Once you open it the inside will look like this (below):

I had no idea what I was getting into. Notice the extra thick cardboard that was used to hold the seam together. Don't cut through it if you don't have it. I was able to pull the top off once I worked at it for a while.

You might want to note that I used the bottom half of the globe so that the words are not upside down ;)

Next add your base. Mine was wooden so I chose to screw the globe onto the base. If you don't have wood (or just don't like screws) feel free to glue it. Luckily there is a hole in the bottom of the globe to let you know the exact middle. No complicated measuring required.

Next cover the inside of the globe with pages from a book in collage style. I used the white glue to first hold the pages in place. Once all the glue from the pages is dry add two layers of varnish. You dont want to feel the book pages. Also this will help to make it safe for food (not waterproof though).

Finally wrap rope, twine, or a piece of cloth around the top to cover the raw edge. I felt three rows was enough. You might need to cover less if you had a cleaner opening than I did.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Centre Pieces: Paper Flowers

One of my favorite things about paper flowers is that they never die! You can have them in any color you like, they don't need any water, and you never have to think about refreshing your table when guests come over. So handy!
For my wedding I was not particularly worried about the flowers wilting before the reception started. I decided to have paper flowers for two reasons. First off, when I learned how expensive flowers are I was not willing to spend that much! Also, and more importantly I love making everything by hand, and love the look of paper flowers, how cool is it to know that the Bride made EVERYTHING on the table!


Paper. Heavier than copy paper, but not as heavy as card stock (I used 67lb paper)

Chopsticks (the cheap wooden ones from take-out)

Green Paint

Liquid Glue



What I did:

First, please note, that I based my flowers off This tutorial, but made some changes.

Cut out petals in approximately the same shape as the picture to the right. Cut some smaller, some more oblong, some larger, ect. Each flower will need approximately 10-14 petals. Feel free to fold the paper in half to cut out two at a time.

Next crumple up, and un-crumple all of the petals, so that when they are open again they are wrinkled.
The wrinkles of the petals allows them to look a bit more realistic, less like paper and a bit more like silk. It gives them some texture.

Paint the chopsticks green. Be sure to paint the whole chopstick because the top will likely be showing like in the picture below.

Place a small line of glue at the base (flat side) of one petal. You will be working from the centre of the flower to the outside, so the first petal you choose should be one that you want in the centre. 

Wrap the bottom of the petal(with the glue) around the chopstick(the fat end). depending on what type of flower you are going for will determine what angle you wrap the flower. I wrapped the petal around at about 40 degrees so that it was not too tight looking. 

Glue and wrap two more petals around the chopstick so that the three petals are evenly dispersed around the top of the chopstick forming the centre of the flower. 

Continue adding petals in the "windows" of the previous petals until you are satisfied with the size of your flower. With every subsequent layer increase the angle that you attach petal.

Once you have used up all your petals, or are satisfied with the number of petals stop adding more. Bend the petals out from the centre or at their tops so that they offer a more realistic look.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The most intense Diet Ever: Why I quit

Just after March 2014 I started to feel sick and I was sure it was from what I was eating. I had heartburn, upset stomachs, and headaches. I started by doing the Wild Rose Cleanse because I had done it before and it helped alot. It did help alot, but did not solve the problem completely this time. I was still having some strange digestion and headaches. Thankfully my husband's work covered Naturopath appointments so I booked an appointment.
Zucchini Fritters - These fritters are unbelievably easy to make, low calorie, and the perfect way to sneak in some veggies!
Huge snack lifesaver because they taste good cold! Sub parmesan for dairy free cheese
First I would like to say that the Naturopath is very expensive and it took 3 appointments before I actually had a diet plan. The third was completely useless. Thank goodness for good benefits!

I also think its important to point out that I have a very high metabolism. If I don't eat every two hours, I will probably have troubles walking because I will be so weak. I don't necessarily have to eat a lot, but simple sugars that come from a granola bar kick in much faster than the sugars in a carrot.
ketchup by fmr
My favorite weekend breakfast is hashbrowns. Katchup makes a huge difference
To shorten a long story a bit, I was on this diet for 2 months. I could not eat gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, chocolate, coffee, most teas, corn, most meat, nuts, vinegar, any yeast, and a few other random things. Essentially my diet was rice, veggies, potatoes, and fruit (thankfully it was summer so the fruit options were a life saver). It seems like more when you just hear it, but its harder than you think. Rice everyday gets very repetitive.
Mayo is in a lot of recipes I like. 
A hard part for me was baking. I grew up in a mennonite home and my mom baked a lot of very unhealthy desserts. As a result I developed a sweet tooth, and learned to love to bake as well. I have a sister that is very severely celiac, so we learned to substitute for gluten quite well. Dairy is not too hard, as long as you like the taste of either almond or coconut milk. But sugar? Its really quite challenging to bake without sugar. I did learn to substitute for stevia or agave, but not too many recipes worked very well.
Grilled Peaches with Honey & Vanilla Ice Cream
My favorite snack when I needed sweets! Just no ice cream.
Another huge challenge was convenience. First of all there was almost nothing I could eat if I was out. At most restaurants I could eat only fries, which would be great if you love salty food, but I really only like my fries with a big juicy burger. If I was out and just wanted a snack to pull me over until I got home, I had to stop at a grocery store; which is not always the easiest to find (I once walked an hour to find one). I also could not eat at anyones house. Most people don't know how to cook with such limited ingredients. Once I did go to a friends for dinner, but I brought all the food.
Skinny Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles Recipe
I used this mostly for the Zoodles. No wine, adjust sauce to taste
I found myself spending 3/4 of my free time cooking. Now as I mentioned above I do love to bake, but I really only like to bake when either I have tons of free time, or I am having company over. I would often leave a friends house early because I had to cook a meal for my lunch the next day. If I wanted to go out for the afternoon I would have to cook a meal ahead of time and bring it with me. I couldn't go out after work because I couldn't buy dinner, I had to always go home and make food.
Super easy. I just added some agave to sweeten them up a bit
Always preparing food from scratch might seem like it has benefits such as cost savings, but really gluten free dairy free food is very expensive. I did not find any sauce or dressings that I could eat so everything was prepared from scratch, with tons of alterations.
Gnocchi is easier to make that you think. Just sub for gluten-free flour
I did learn a lot through the process. after a month I finally learned that most foods on the candida diet I can eat (why did the naturopath not tell me that?). I also learned some simple ways to eat healthier such as subbing rice noodles for wheat noodles (no extra effort). I am fairly good at baking gluten free and I don't mind buying margarine over butter, or using coconut milk in my recipes. I can sub honey, agave, or stevia for sugar in pretty much anything except baking; which makes a huge difference in the huge amounts of sauces that my husband loves.
Peach Dumplings
A bit more challenging, but worth it. I used Pillsbury gf pie crust, sparkling water, and honey.
I got re-tested after two months and though a lot of foods cleared, I still could not have gluten, dairy, chocolate, and minimal sugar. So I went home and told my husband I quit. He was happy.

Gluten Free Baja Fish Tacos with Fresh Gluten Free Flour Tortillas
My husband made these for me on my birthday. I used my home made mayo (below) subbed stevia for sugar, and used fetta for the cheese
We decided that a stomach ache once a week was well worth spending an extra hour with friends; not to mention the joy I receive from enjoying chocolate! I am much happier now and have learned to balance my health and quality of life. I am not a slave to the kitchen, but can still cook healthier than I was before. If I start to feel horrible again in 6 months, its not a big deal for me to do a 2 week cleanse. But I will not be a slave to my kitchen.
Honey Salmon in Foil - A no-fuss, super easy salmon dish that's baked in foil for the most tender, most flavorful salmon ever!
This is the best Salmon recipe I'v ever had! It was a 1-2 times a week easy life savor. Sub vinegar for lemon juice
My husband said: "If you die 1 year earlier, at least you enjoyed all the years leading up to it."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Joss: Curtains, remove the eye sore

The next item on the list of boat fixes was for me, what it needed most. The most hideous curtains I have ever seen in my life! This curtain is not only falling apart, but it is weird to start with. I had vinyl "wood" strips aligned vertically. And the best part is, the darker colored horizontal strips are completely plastic, they feel like a plastic tablecloth or shower curtain. So weird!

I just had to go. Being that it was one of the first things that you see when you walk in, there was no avoiding it. There was another curtain only 3 feet away from where the horrible curtain hang that was not as bad, it had green vertical stripes, but the green was much different from the green in the rest of the boat. I thought it would be best if they both matched, so I decided to make two new ones.

So I pulled it off and headed to the fabric store. I didn't buy fabric at the fabric store, because the only fabrics I liked were $16/metre! There was no way Im paying that much for boat curtains. I went home sad until I remembered a post I saw on Pinterest about crafts with drop cloths. Now, I'm not the type of person to re-purpose a drop cloth for the fun of it, but since it was the color I was looking for, and $13 total, there was no better choice. I drove to Home Depot and bought a drop cloth.

Making curtains the way I was doing it was nearly the easiest sewing project I have ever done!.


Hooks to hand your curtain

Drop Cloth (or any other heavy fabric)

Sewing Machine

Fabric Scissors 


Measuring Tape

Iron/ironing board

What I did:

I started by measuring the original curtains I added 1 inch to the vertical measurement to account for seams, and 3 inches to the horizontal measurement to account for seams because I was screwing it to the wall on one side I needed extra thick seams(normally just add 1 inch per side for 1/2 inch seams). 

Lay the fabric out on the floor. Measure and mark points with a pencil the size of the new curtain, connect the points with a straight line if you are not a super straight cutter (like me). Cut out the new curtain with fabric scissors. One huge benefit if you are using a drop cloth is that the sides already have seams, so in my case I only needed to make seams on two sides!

Next Iron your fabric how you plan to sew it. I needed 1/2 inch seams on the top for the hooks I was using so I folded 1/2 inch over ironed, and folded another 1/2 inch over and ironed. Since the bottom was already heamed I only needed to add 1 inch to my length. Pin the ironed fabric in place. Ironing is VERY important. You might not believe me, but ironing before sewing makes an item look much more professional. If you iron you are more likely to be asked "where did you buy that," then if you don't iron. Don't skip this step!

Next Sew the seams. In this picture I am sewing a piece that I took from one of the curtains that was used to attach the hooks. It is very unlikely that you will have this same piece, bit it was fairly easy if you are interested (I have no idea what its called or where to buy it). 

Once it is sewn that is basically it. I had to attach the hooks onto the top of the other one (not shown in the sewing picture above). Finally hang the curtain and  admire your handy work. 
Ahhh so much better! I am really happy with how the turned out, but next time I have free time (never) I might paint some stripes on the bottom to add a bit more pizazz!

If you need a tutorial on how to make other types of curtains try one of these:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Joss: Boat tiles and Nautical Rope Mirror

I have always loved all things nautical. It worked out that the first person I ever sailed with is now my husband. His parents own a Catalina 27. Its great, we mostly do just two hour afternoon trips in the bay, but we did our first overnight trip not too long ago. Since we have never taken an overnight trip before, we spent very little time inside the boat. Spending time inside motivated us to make some major updates to the boat.
This is a picture from our boat (of another boat)

There is a lot of work to do, among the regular maintenance that is required, but I started with the bathroom tiles because my husbands mom could not stand them.


Ugly tiles

Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Paint

Painters tape

Paint foam roller and brush


Hot Glue (or stronger glue if your mirror does not have a frame)

Nautical style rope

Sand paper (optional)

Rag and cleaning products

What I did:

Nautical Rope Mirror:

Not much required here. Hot glue rope around the mirror adding small sections of glue at a time and quickly placing the rope overtop (because it dries so quickly). I was only able to wrap three times because of the screws holding the mirror on the wall, but feel free to wrap as much as you want. Finish with the rope at the same place you started. 


Let me first note that this was for a small area with not too much traffic. I would use a different method for larger areas or more traffic. 

I forgot to take a before picture. Here is after one coat
you can see a bit of the dated flower design on the tiles. 
I started with a light sanding the tiles, nothing serious, just to be on the safe side. The product does not require it, but I wanted to be extra safe. I then cleaned the tiles with bathroom cleaner to remove any sanding dust, and other previous gunk that had built up over the past 20 years. Next tape the edges of the tiles to prevent painting the walls. 

Paint the tiles. I did my first coat with a brush to allow for a bit more coverage, and because the roller uses more paint and I only had a small bottle. Let the paint dry for 1-2 hours between coats as per instructions. Paint 1-3 more coats with a foam roller as required. I used white over cream tiles so 3 coats was enough, but I would suspect darker colors might only require 2 coats.  

Remove painter's tape. The paint can take up to a month to completely cure before you want to do any abrasive cleaning.

I tried to hide from the picture, but the bathroom is so tiny!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sore Bum: Stool pillow top

A log stool is just a log if you don't spruce it up!

My log stool was hard and not that exciting until I added a pillow top to it!


Stiff Fabric

Foam or Round Pillow

Long screw

Washer the bigger the better

Big Button

Strong glue

First determine how big to make the pillow. I made mine 1" wider than my stump so that it had some overhang. I had some old foam lying around so I cut that to the right size. I wanted the seat to be soft, so I cut an additional circle slightly smaller to go on top for extra padding. If you are using a pillow skip this step.

Making a pillow, I quickly learned, is a very simple task and does not require a pattern. Measure the diameter of the foam and add 3" total to the measurement to account for the 1.5" seam on each side. Fold your fabric in half and cut a circle out of your fabric with the new diameter. To cut a circle I tied a pencil on one end of a string and cut the sting to be the correct length. Hold the sting in the middle and draw a circle with the pencil all the way around keeping the sting tight. It was not 100% accurate for me, but it should be close enough that it will correct when you sew it together. 

Next measure the distance around the outside of the newly cut circles Add a few inches for 'safety' this will be the side panel. Measure the height of your foam/pillow. Mine was 6" tall but I wanted it to squish down inside my pillow case so I only cut 6" total (3" + 1.5" seams on each side). 

Fold the side panel stip in half, and in half again. Pin the corners (3 pins and 4 even sections). Next fold the one circle in half and pin the edges (do this both ways so there are 4 pins dividing the quarters). Match the pins so that the side panel stip is evenly dispursed around the circle. Make sure you do this right side to right side (so when you flip it inside out you see the good side of the fabric). 

Sew the circle on to the side panel strip. Do it again for the other circle but only sew 3/4 of the way around. 
Put the pillow or foam pieces inside and hand sew the opening closed. 

Take a long screw. Mine was 5" but that might have been over kill. Place the washer on the screw. This gives extra security so the fabric doesn't rip and pop over top of the screw. Place the pillow on the stump just how you want it. Find the middle of the pillow (I eyeballed it) and screw down through the pillow into the stup. Go down almost as far as you can so that when you sit down the screw doesn't poke you. Finally glue a big button on top of the screw to hide it.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rustic Cabin: Stool and side table

I don't know if its because I'm Canadian, British Columbian, or if its just me, but there is something fantastic about that deep in the woods Cabin. The kind where the owner says, my grandfather built this cabin and everything in it from the trees on the property. Then you cook the fish you just caught for dinner over a wood burning stove. That to me, sounds delightful!

I have a friend with a cabin like the one I am describing. Its near Egan Lake in BC, which is 1.5 hours to the closest town of under 2000 residents. Its really in the boonies! My friends dad built the entire house, and all the furniture inside. Its probably close to 500 sqft which is very squishy in -15 C  with 8 other people inside...But I love it so much! Unfortunately I can't find a good picture of that cabin, so I will have to update this post next time I go up there.

That being said I made some wooden stools that are very log cabin-esk.


Large log stump

Skinny log stump

Sand paper (palm sander if available)

Large circular saw or chainsaw

spray varnish

3 Dowel Screw

What I did:

I started with two big log stumps and two skinny stumps from the pile in our back yard. You can get your from anywhere, I often see free fire wood on craigslist.

Brush off the sides with a coarse broom to get rid of any groseness and any loose bark. Then sand the top and bottom to remove any slime and to level out the surface.

Varnish all sides. I used spray varnish because it was much quicker and easier to get in the cracks. Trust me on this one, when I discovered varnish came in a spray life was very simplified!

Next cut three even pieces from the smaller log. Keep in mind that a chair is about 19" tall. I wanted mine 21" for a bit of a higher stool so we cut the feet to be 3" tall.

Clean up and varnish the feet the same way as the main stool. Use the dowel screws to screw the legs into the side you choose to be on the bottom. Dowel screws are also revolutionary. If you have never used them before. Grip the middle with a pliers while you twist it into the foot. Only twist 1/3 of the way into the foot. Then flip it over and twist it into the stump using the foot as your handle. Once the stump side is tight the foot side will tighten up as well.

If you want a side table or a hard top stool thats it your done!

Pillow Tutorial coming soon...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bridesmaid bouquets: Paper Flowers

I think, after a year break it is time to start posting about wedding crafts. Since crafting is my hobby anyhow, having a DIY wedding was not only the obvious choice, but was no extra work. I simply replaced my personal crafting time with my wedding crafts. These crafts were more redundant than previously, but I had a bit more motivation to work hard, so it balanced out in the end.


Light colored Paper about 1 page/2 flowers (anything less heavy than cardstock, but more heavy than copy paper will do). I used cream

Dark colored Cardstock Paper (I actually used the paper kids make school projects on because it was the only navy paper I could find). The heavier the better

Floral Wire

Hot glue or white glue (I used both)


Pliers (or just a pencil will do)

What I did:

I actually followed This tutorial on the Elli blog and made a few of my own variations. She called them roses, but I chose them because I thought they looked like poppies which is what I was going for. 

Cut out TONS of petals in the shape of the picture to the right.. Cut them free hand because you do not want them to all be the same. Vary width, height, and shape if you like. I folded my paper in half and cut two petals at one time. Cut three small slits in the bottom just like the black lines on the picture. Fold the sides over the middle and glue them in place (this is later referred to as the platform). The petal should start to form a curvichure when you do this. I used white glue for this so there was no bump. 

Once the glue on the petals has dried it is time to start to put them together. Start with 3 or 4 of your smaller petals. Arrange them in a circle and use white glue to glue the platforms together one on top of another. Use another 5-4 of your larger petals and glue their platforms underneath. Make sure to stager the petals when you arrange the outer ones so that they are between the inner petals. Continue adding petals staggered to the outside until you are pleased. I used about 6-10 petals/ flower depending on the shape and size.

Next cut 1.5" and 2.5" diameter circles out of the dark paper. Cut slits in the circles from the outside edge to the centre as thin as you can go (mine were about 2mm).  The slits should go 3/4 of the way to the centre. so there is a small uncut spot in the middle. Curl the slits around a pencil or chopstick so they resemble a small bowl. Finally glue the smaller one inside the bigger one. This will be the centre of your flower.

Twist the top of your floral wire 1-2 times around your pliers or pencil and fold that section over so that it creates a platform. Hot glue the flower petals onto the platform. Then use hot glue to place the centre piece inside the newly assembled flower. Finally cut a small cloud shape out of your lighter paper (the same as the petals). Poke a hole in the centre with the floral wire and slide it up the floral wire and hot glue it onto the very bottom to cover up the floral wire platform. 

Ta Da! Beautiful flowers that never wilt!