Supplies, oh the supplies!

I think one thing every artist, crafty person or sewist will tell you, is that building the stash is half the fun! I try to be good about it, but having a great selection of supplies in my studio is one thing that keeps me creative. It allows me to get inspired then immediately head into my studio. Because chances are, I have what you need to make it.

My recent purchase was strictly for the stash, because you can’t have too many colors of zippers to choose from and nicely colored fabric is always welcome in my studio.

Is building your stash half the fun for you as well? How big is yours?

June july 2012 105

June july 2012 126

 

 

Painted Frames pt 2

If you read my last blog post, you will see I successfully painted over some ugly picture frames. It was so fast and easy, that I started to look around my house to see what else I could paint. It didn’t take long to notice the huge picture we had inherited from my grandparents. I have always loved the picture as a child and I liked the large wooden frame. But in all reality the frame was pretty ugly and dated.

In this before picture note that it’s not a terrible photo. It’s what the picture looked like before I wiped off the residue from the 40 some odd  years it had been in a smoking environment. Gross.

It will enjoy a new, clean smoke free life with us now ;)

before

Amazing what a damp rag did to improve the painting!! I honestly can’t believe the difference!!

May-june 2013 030

To prepare for painting, all I did was wipe down the painting and the frame, then covered the picture with newspaper to avoid paint getting on it.

May-june 2013 031 copy

Ta da! A couple of coats using dark brown spray paint later and I think it looks much better. What do you think?

after

 

Painted picture frames

I inherit things, a lot of things, what with Grandparents and parents downsizing and a mom who worked in building management for years. Those avenues have brought us a lot of furniture and items for the home that were free. Free is good. We love free, who doesn’t?

We have scored a dining room set, a sweet coffee table and countless other items for our home. I am grateful for it all but sometimes the things we inherit are not items that we would ever choose to buy ourselves. That’s where this DIY comes in. When not in love with it, paint it!

Check out these picture frames my mom found laying around an abandoned apartment. (and yes, that is the free dining room set you see)

painted frames (1)

painted frames (2)

Beautiful frames, but horrible color. At least I don’t like it, and it really doesn’t go with the colors of our home. All I had to do was remove the glass and backing from the frames and spray paint them. I chose the darkest brown spray paint that I could find. Two coats of paint later, and look how much better they look! I am very pleased with the results.

painted frames (5)

This was so easy and fun that I think more frames are going to get painted. Stay tuned!

 

Smartie Cookies

Smartie cookies, www.thec-spot.com

 

Today I wanted to share a fantastic cookie recipe with you. One that I created, or should I say, heavily modified myself.

For those readers outside of Canada, let me start off by clarifying what Smarties are to us Canadians.

 

Smarties

Smarties are candy coated chocolate pieces, sort of like M&M’s  but sweeter and yummier in my opinion. For me, Smarties are NOT those little powered tablets you get at Halloween. Here in Canada we call those Rockets by the way….

You see, I have these memories of my mom and grandma making Smartie cookies for me when I was a child. They weren’t made often, but I have thought about them often since then and I finally decided that I am going to make some myself.

Of course, I went to my mom for the recipe but she didn’t remember. She gave me a cookbook with a cream cheese cookie recipe she was pretty sure she used and added smarties to.   I looked up the recipe but to my disappointment the recipe uses a box of cake mix, and honestly that just grosses me out. I know cookies aren’t healthy with the large amounts of butter and sugar in them but, at least I know they are made from scratch and I can pronounce every ingredient in them.

So I went searching for a cream cheese cookie recipe I could make from scratch. I needed a cookie that wasn’t too sweet, as smarties are very sweet and just throwing them into a standard chocolate chip cookie dough would be too rich.

Fortunately my searching and experimenting paid off and now I can share the recipe with you!

These cookies are soft, firm and are even better the next day. This is a recipe you will make over and over again.

Smartie Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Smarties or M&M’s

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or line baking pans.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until almost combined. Add Smarties or M&M’s, stirring until dough is thoroughly mixed.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pans. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. (These cookies will not brown or spread like classic chocolate chip cookies.)

Cool cookies completely on pan or wire racks. Yum!

 

 Easter 2013 066

 

 

Easter 2013 068

Easter Cake Pops

Easter Cake Pops thec-spot.comHappy Easter! Around our house Easter means chocolate, egg hunts, decorations and family time. I would have to say I enjoy Easter decorations the most out of any holiday. I don’t know why but I find the color, eggs and animals just so darn cute! Plus all that chocolate in the house isn’t such a terrible thing either.

Last year I decided to make Easter cake pops; it’s candy, chocolate and a cute Easter decoration in one! Yes, sign me up! Bakerella had some super cute cake pops with an Easter theme which inspired me to make own, but in the shapes of Easter eggs instead. I used sprinkles and sanding sugar because I try to avoid decorations that do not enhance the flavor or texture of the pop. I see cake pops sometimes that look fantastic but are made of candies that I don’t think would go well with a bite of cake.

Cake pops are very easy to make, I learned how from HERE. Plus, not only are they super cute, but they are delicious and kids love them.

Easter Cake pops thec-spot.com

Easter cake pop the c-spot.com

 

Yoki the dragon

yoki, thec-spot.com

I love dragons, don’t most people? So when I saw this pattern for purchase I couldn’t resist. I have sculpted a few dragons before but I had never sewn one.

I loved this pattern because compared to bear making, it was so easy ! I could sew the whole thing with my machine and it came together very quickly. Plus, he’s made out of fleece, my favorite fabric to sew with.

If you like him, buy the pattern and try to make one. I love the feeling of being able to cuddle something I made, although the kids seem to cuddle him a lot more than I do.

I think maybe I will create a smaller, baby dragon using my own pattern. I will make sure to share when I do!

Yoki, thec-spot.com

Yoki, thec-spot.com

Yoki, thec-spot.com

Homemade Gifts Pt. 2

snowmen gifts 2

Christmas, such a fun busy time of the year. Part of the Christmas spirit for me, is letting myself truly enjoy the holidays. I don’t make a lot of gifts, I don’t bake too many cookies or cook anything very complicated. I want to be able to enjoy Christmas, watch movies with my kids, go sledding, listen to music and dance with my children. I don’t want to be so busy during Christmas that I am unable to enjoy those little things. Plus, I think my children are going to have better memories of me spending time with them, then they would have of the perfect homemade gift, or a perfect turkey dinner. They don’t care about these things anyway.

Now that the holidays are over and things are starting to settle down and I am happy to be back in blog land.

I did manage to make a few homemade gifts this year, but I made sure they were fast and easy to make. Have a child in school now means I had to think of gifts for the teacher, her bus monitor ( the amazing older boy that zips up her jacket and gets her on the right bus after school) and gifts for her bus drivers.

Luckily I came across a pin on Pinterest for making the most adorable snowmen out of chocolate bars. I loved this idea as I had everything I needed on hand besides the chocolate bars. I loved making these and my daughter was very proud of them, and couldn’t wait to hand them out and let everyone know her mommy made them!

Yes I made these for Christmas, but since they are snowmen they can be given out all winter long.

I found the original idea here

snowmen gifts

 

Sewn Paintings

Sometimes I am in awe of an artist, not just for their artist talent but for their creativity! These  Sewn Paintings by ESTHER JANSSEN  are amazing and until you take a closer look you would have no idea that these were sewn bits of fabric.

 

Dinner tonight

Just a quick post today because I absolutely HAD to share this recipe! My family is still new to quinoa so I have been trying recipes with familiar flavors and this one was fantastic! It tasted a whole lot like broccoli cheese soup, only it’s quinoa and pretty healthy. I  would love to say the whole family loved it, although my picky daughter wouldn’t even look at it, but hey 3 out of 4 isn’t bad anyway.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, I think it just adds that much more flavor and appeal.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa 500 4620

via Closet Cooking: Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • half a small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 2 tbps for grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Saute onions for a couple of minutes until just softened. Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 mintue.
  2. Bring the quinoa, broth and broccoli to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer covered until the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender,about 13-17 minutes.
  3. Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.

Home Made Gifts

Have you guys seen those Ugly Dolls? They are so ugly they are cute, and they are hard not to fall in love with.

A while back I made my own ugly doll for a child’s birthday. My family was defiantly not happy that I gave him away!

The design wasn’t hard, I just sketched out what I wanted him to look like and since there aren’t any gussets or darts, construction was pretty simple.

I have another one in the works now but for some reason he just doesn’t want to be finished yet!

I also made some bean bags and covered a coffee tin with some fabric to create a bean bag toss type game. I heard from the boys mom that he loved the bean bag toy and it gets a lot of use. I don’t blame him, soft and squishy fleece bean bags even appeal to adults and are great to play with as stress relievers. Again, these were not difficult at all and totally worth it.

You will see that I had to make two sets of bean bags, one as the gift and one for my own children who insisted on having their own.