Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh Fudge!! The results!

This is one serving size, right?


So mostly a success! The fudge should have been cut while it was still soft so it crumbled a bit when I cut it up. Perhaps in my panic I beat up the fudge a bit too much. The recipe is super easy, I'd definitely make this one again. I give myself a B+.

Hooray! No more Flubber!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh Fudge!!

I am a lover of fudge. Of any kind really. When I went back to Banff the first thing I wanted to do was go to the fudge store. They have at least 25 different kinds of fudge. I remember my Grandpa making it when I was a kid. I think it was the only time he actually did anything in the kitchen. That and maybe open some cans of tuna for the cats. I prefer fudge when it's smooth, not granular. The smoothness gives it an extra little oomph.
All this to say, I suck at making fudge. The few times I have tried, it's been a disaster. Shouldn't I have some sort of fudge making gene from my Grandpa, or is it recessive? The last time, it was just plain nasty. I don't know what I did wrong but it wasn't quite solid, not quite liquid either. Flubber! That's exactly what it was. Tasty flubber fudge that was good for spreading on toast.
My friend gave me an easy fudge recipe. It's good, but it's got the granular thing going for it. That and I don't think fudge is supposed to have icing sugar in it.

My husband, the geek, after trying the Flubber Fudge sent me this, the science of fudge:

I chuckled at first but then when I actually watched the video it was quite helpful. I know where I went wrong last time. So, I made fudge tonight. I think I may have succeeded too! I've been typing this as I let it cool, then went back to it to stir it up. The recipe says to beat the mixture for a few minutes and that it will go from glossy to opaque and thicken up. At first I'm whipping it into a frenzy and nothing is happening. Oh crap! Was I supposed to use an electric mixer? I debate taking out the mixer and risking waking Alex up, but I check the recipe again. Hmm nothing about mixer speed. It must be by hand. I go back to the bowl and start mixing again. You guys, it was magical. I could see it starting to crystalize and become opaque. Suddenly it was the consistency of peanut butter cookie batter. Did I really get the fudge to work?

I'll post the results later, when it cools. For now here's the recipe for Incredible Brown Sugar Fudge.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The mail made me cry today...twice.

As I waited for my sister to show up at my house so we could go out to breakfast (second breakfast that is), I went to check the mail. Oooh! A puffy envelope! It must be the fabric I ordered from Etsy I thought to myself. No, that's not right. I only finished the transaction on Sunday. Hmm, who is it from then? I checked the return address and then blurted out "that turkey!". You see, the package was from my friend Mommy By Day. She sent me a Christmas card and a little something for Alex. I had sent her a gift for her daughter on her birthday (who was born just 12 hours after Alex). This person I've only been in touch with over the internet, who I've never met in person (but would like to some day) sent my son a gift. The friendships I've made online (and in real life as well) this past year is something I never could have predicted. So when I opened the package I started to cry. Natalie had sent me these delicious winter booties for Alex. Very sweet and greatly appreciated. Thank you for the boots and for our talks Natalie.

Oh and they fit perfectly by the way, he was just mostly naked when he tried them on :)

After second breakfast and shopping and a short while after my sister left, I got a call from my nephew.
He called to tell me he got the birthday card I mailed him. Well, sort of mailed him. You see I did something boneheaded. Almost 2 weeks ago, I went to mail that card, with Mr. Puffpuff Snowsuit in tow. We walked the four long blocks to the mailbox to mail the card (and return a movie to Zip). The envelope is prepaid, so I completely forgot about the stamp on the card. I was dealing with a weeble wobble toddler who kept tipping over and the short walk took forever. I get to the mailbox and shove in the two envelopes. It was just as I shut the door to the mailbox, did I remember that the card had no stamp. No postage of any kind. Aaaaarrrrghhhhh! The worst part was there was a 50$ gift card in that envelope.  I was hopeful that I'd get the card back in the mail, but my husband was convinced that card was gone for good. So when I got off the phone with my nephew, I cried again. You see, today is the anniversary of my mom's death. I sometimes feel like she's watching over us, but when stuff like this happens, how could you not? So thanks Mom, glad you're still looking out for me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Colours! A felt book for Alex.

I haven't been posting as much because I've been busily working every evening on this felt book I've made for Alex. I started it, hmm let me think, the beginning of October? Maybe September? I can't believe this book is finally done! I had seen the felt book at my friend Crafty Mel's house. She made the felt book for her son, and it was beautiful. I wanted to make one too! She lent me the pattern (sorry copyright!) and slowly I collected what I needed for the book. I started making a few pages from the pattern, but then deviated from it. About a third of the book is from the pattern, the rest I did on my own, making images that Alex would recognize. I tried to make it interactive, giving Alex stuff to do on most pages.
It took about 30-40 hours to make but it was a lot of fun. I did some hand sewing, machine sewing, embroidery, a quilted square and even a tiny bit of needle felting.

Alex loves fire trucks so this was a no brainer. The ladder is a working zipper.

Orange. This one was from the pattern. The goldsfish come out of the tank.

Banana! You can peel the banana. Meh, not my favourite page.

Another one partially from the pattern. The little bird comes out of the nest.

Whale! When I started this Alex didn't know whales, but now he says Whale. The airplane is a button.

This was supposed to be grapes. I'm happy with the butterflies. There's a second butterfly that comes out from the cocoon.

Watermelon. It's pink. There's an ant. Doesn't do anything.

Who is that squirrel sharing an apple with?

A friend!
 I needle felted the white around the eyes during an unusually long nap.
This page makes me very happy! I love the squirrels!

What do you think?

Easy Peasy Crafting: Mini Stocking for gift cards

 I hate giving gift cards. I much prefer picking out presents for people. For some people though, like a teenage boy, gift cards are the perfect gift. I guess I could just put the gift card in a card, but it seems like a of waste, especially if this person already got a Christmas card from us. I've seen little card holders, some quite cheesy at the Dollar store, and others, equally cheesy for several dollars elsewhere.  I was inspired by Wombat and her use of reusable gift bags she made. So I've made some cute little stockings that can hold gift cards, candy canes, little notes, or some chocolates. They're also reusable. I used some fabric I got from a friend and some yarn I had lying around the house. 

So to start, you take your fabric, fold in half (right side facing in) and trace a stocking (or any shape really) using a card as a guideline, making sure that there's enough fabric for a seam allowance.

You then do the same thing to the second fabric. Take the fabrics and put the two opposite colours together, with the toes facing in the same direction like this.

 Then stitch the two boots rims together with the fabrics facing right sides together. Once you have two weird two headed boot things, place those together, right side facing each other. Then stitch all the way around one boot, and most of the way around the second boot, leaving a space open at the bottom. (Stitching using photoshop to demonstrate, not actual bad sewing).

Oh if you want to add a string, insert it so it's facing the right sides of the fabric in the stocking with just the end sticking out. If you add it right at the middle point between the fabrics it makes the stocking reversible!

And this is the result! (Made with other fabrics)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride...

Alex woke up super early this morning so I decided to take him out in the sleigh to tire him out before trying to put him down for a nap. This was the result:

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I am currently watching Love Actually and I started crying before the opening credits even finished. Oh the sad irony that is Liam Neeson burying his wife in a movie, then losing his wife so tragically in real life. Why do I do this to myself?

I've been spending my evenings half watching movies that I've already seen many times before. I'm working on a handmade book for Alex for Christmas and I like the background noise. Hopefully this book will finish soon enough. I feel like I've been working on it forever. I'll post some photos when it's done.

My cat, Daisy, the slightly intellectually challenged one, is staring at me. She'll do this for 20-30 minutes at a time. Really quite creepy. Shoo kitty shoo!

Alex said what sounded like his first sentence tonight as I put his pj's on. It was "Dodo, No, no. Elmo!". Sorry Alex. No Crackmo before bed.

Billy Bob Thornton is both scary and perfect as the president of the United States (in Love Actually).

Creepy staring cat, still in place.

Work today was mostly uneventful. I went to get a coffee for the boss lady, and had to order some complicated latte for her. I told the guys, it's for the owner of the store next door. Ah they said, and they knew who I meant. Her store that she works in is in the same building as the coffee shop. But her other store that she owns, the one I work at, is across the street, diagonally. The coffee shop dudes insisted that she always takes her coffee in a mug. Yes, but she's across the street today. No, no. She takes the mugs across the street. There was no way I was going to cross the slushy windy street with my lunch in one hand and a hot latte in a MUG with the other. What the french toast?

Oh and then there was this:

The new Christmas paper at work. Cute right? Trees, and presents and cute little santas. But wait, what's that? A witch? Flying over Christmas presents (upper right corner). Huh? Some graphic designer seems to be a bit confused. Witchy Claus creature flying over people with presents.
Daisy still perched at my feet. Sigh. I guess I should let her hop up and get lovies.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Collaborative art: Toddler edition

Alex is really getting into drawing. He seems to like it. This makes me very happy. I keep going back and forth about introducing finger paint. Hmm. Maybe I'll wait a bit longer. He refuses to draw on a blank white page I call it Colouring Book Syndrome (not that he's ever seen a colouring book).

Fox in fall foliage. Crayon on paper.
(The fox, by the way was supposed to be a zebra. My drawing is a little rusty)

Northern Lights at the North Pole. Pencil on paper.

Detail of Northern Lights.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A day in the life of Mr. Chicken

Not impressed. Not with the snow or the amount of clothes he has to wear.

Catching snowflakes on his tongue. Notice the robots on his snowsuit.

Just Chillin'. Maybe snow is not so bad.

Walking back home. The three block round trip took 45 minutes.

I'm here for the Cat Sitting job you advertised...

Helping mom make cookies.

Expert taste tester.

After his nap he came to the balcony door to look out the window.
 I said it's snow. He said "NO!". I feel the same way.

Doing a little vacuuming before dinner. His word for vacuum is "dah gue".
(Oh and it's the same day, different outfit.
 He was playing with some water in a bowl like he normally does,
 but stood in the bowl, and then tossed catfood in the water.
 I was too busy with damage control to take a photo of it)

and then off to bed. Rinse, repeat.

Friday, December 3, 2010

NaBloPoMo Report card and a recipe for Rum Balls....

a.k.a All this writing has driven me to drink...

So I ended up with 24/30 days of posts. Not bad, some days were harder than others. I have come to the conclusion that whoever thought up this NaBloPoMo idea does not have a life. Some times I was just to tired or brain dead to come up with a post. It definitely got me thinking again though. So there is that. I'm hoping to keep up my momentum.

Ok, now for the good stuff.

My Christmas baking itinerary always includes these delectible little alcohol-imbibed treats (except for the past couple of years where I was too queasy/spent to even think about baking)

Rum Balls (makes about 3-4 dozen depending on the size of your balls...hey oh!)

6oz (185 ml) of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of sugar
3 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup dark rum
2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1 cup of fine chopped walnuts
a small bowl of sugar for coating

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Take it off the heat and mix in the sugar and the corn syrup. Then add the rum. Add this mixture to the graham crackers and walnuts in a bowl. Roll into small balls. Coat the ball in the sugar.

  • You'll need to compress the ball before you roll them in your palm otherwise they fall apart.
  • It's easy to make but the balls take some time to roll (a batch and a half took an hour to roll)
  • Your palms with get very sticky, it's actually easier to continue rolling if you don't wash your hands in between
  • You will want to eat some as you make them. DON'T. Seriously. You'll taste it and say this was totally not worth the effort. They need to ripen at least overnight in the fridge.
  • They keep well in the fridge or freezer.
  • They are not for kids, obviously. (A friend once left them out on the counter with all the other Christmas cookies she had made and didn't warn her 14 year old. The girl popped it into her mouth, thinking it was a Timbit*. She bit into it and thought it was rancid. Snort.)
*donut hole for you Americans

Oh and it takes about 18 of them to equal one ounce of rum so go easy on them and so don't ball and drive.

Hello, my Precious.