Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping Lizards!

Leaping lizards, it's leap day! Though it generally feels like just another day, it is interesting that it only happens every few years. For my leap day I had baked up a package mix of shortbread cookies last night using one of the heart cookie cutters I had received from "A Little Something For My Kitchen" swap. Seems a bit Valentines-ish but aren't they sweet?

These days I'm not much for baking from a package, but I had picked up a few boxes of the shortbread mix at Superstore the last time I was there, and thought what the heck? The dough was amazing, so tasty, and the cookies turned out alright. They were no home made goodness, but still tasty.

I dropped off my a postcard for a "Leap Day Postcard Swap" as well as a postcard for a friend. Much to my enjoyment, the post had cow stamps. They were awesome. Both postcards were stamped and hand cancelled so that the leap day date could be clearly seen. Much to my surprise there was also another little something in my post box. If you recall I recently received a swap for my "Wonderland Tea Party In A Box" swap, but found myself a bit disappointed. Well today I received another package from my partner containing more little goodies. It was quite and unexpected surprise, but a nice one that I am certainly thankful for :)

Enjoy your leap day everyone, after all it doesn't happen every year!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Johnson Brothers Beauty

I've done it again! I stopped in at my local thrift store, which is becoming my usual Tuesday afternoon, and though I only bought a small piece of vintage fabric one of the gals there had a nice little surprise for me in the back seat of her car. Sounds ominous I imagine, but really it was a set of old dishes. She told me she had no use for them, and some pieces (all the plates) were missing/broken, but she didn't want to throw away the rest. That's the second time I've gotten free dishes just from stopping in a thrift store, lucky me!

The back is marked "Johnson Brothers England" and upon looking them up I discovered they made A LOT of patterns and prints and so far I've had no luck in finding this one. So should anyone out there happen to know the name of this particular print, or even a date around which they may have been made I'd most certainly love to know.

Admittedly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all these dishes I've been collecting but recently I've been getting excited about an upcoming flea market (by upcoming I mean May) in my nearest city an hour away. Perhaps if I collect enough dishes and tid bits by that time I could buy a spot and sell a few things of my own. After all, I will be attending anyway, why not try to make a few dollars while I'm at it, right? Time will tell.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Day, Another Sent Swap

I little while ago I had posted about a private swap in the works. Well it's all been arranged, and my swap lot was sent off today. My swap partner had said she would take three mixed media pieces, however I decided to send all seven, including the two I just made and a small tag to top it off. A little black lace to pretty it up, and it was set to go. On the way to the post office I stopped by our town office and picked up a local postcard to go with it all.

Quite honestly, when I contacted her about her post regarding shabby chic art pieces I really didn't expect much (if anything in return). It really just looked like a fun project, a new challenge. I genuinely hope she likes them and at least some of them are up to what she was hoping for.

The next few swaps will likely be private. I love swap-bot, but sometimes private, one-on-one swaps are the better way to go. You know who your partner is, and can put more thought into what you send. It seems more personal and like there would be a little less risk. Not to mention you don't have to deal with multiple members for one swap. It will be nice to do personal swaps, and since I don't get to the city very often private swappers will most likely be more flexible with the times. Though I will say one thing, finding the right private swappers can be a bit of a challenge in itself. Sometimes people are looking for things you just can't get for them, and it doesn't work out. Oh well, if it's the right situation, things will go perfectly :)

Looking forward to swaps ahead!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Bit O' Bran

It's cookie time again! I had bought a big box of All Bran cereal so that I could try making a type of bran muffin (which I forgot to photograph) and hardly made a dent into the amount in the box. So in search of bran recipes I went. I ended up being bombarded with muffin recipes and what seemed like not much else, until I happened across this cookie recipe.

The cookies are oat bran chocolate chip, sort of a healthier cookie I suppose but they tasted just as good as a less healthy variety. They were easy to make, quick to bake, and turned out quite soft and chewy - just how I like my cookies. I neglected to tell my father there was bran in them and he never even noticed. Yep, I tricked him into eating something a touch healthier. Score one for me. So if you have a fussy eater and want to trick them into getting a bit of bran in their diet, here's the recipe for it!

Happy Baking!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Win Some, Lose Some

Upon opening my mailbox today I found a coupon book for our local A&W restaurant and a small decorated letter envelope. I hadn't ordered anything that was to come in such a small envelope and I knew a swap item from the US couldn't be here since it was only mailed what is it? It had been decorated in an Alice In Wonderland theme and the return address was from Italy. It was a swap package for my Wonderland Tea Party In A Box Swap.

I hate to be rude wasn't exactly what I expected. I opened the little envelope to find four packets of tea (which I don't drink), two xmas Kinder chocolates, a pack of some sort of pudding, a bunny necklace (I assume is handmade), about 5 sticker flakes, a few home printed stickers, and a few little pieces of kawaii memo paper. Call me stuck up but I was expecting something a little bigger, after all that's what I had specified in the swap description/rules.

This was my first swap that I ever felt truly disappointed in. It felt to me as though it was thrown together bits that came from other swaps or things lying around. I put a fair deal of thought into my own swap package so I suppose I assumed they would do the same...or at least read my profile. I have serious peanut/nut allergies and I cannot eat anything that doesn't have a list of ingredients that I can check over, and none of these items had. I gave the chocolates to my father, I will be giving the tea to a friend, and I will likely send the pudding to another friend. I do feel bad for feeling so bitter...but this made me so sad...

You win some, you lose some I guess.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Delightful Swap Day

You know that excited feeling you get when you open your mail box to find one of those little cards that lets you know you have a parcel waiting? I had that feeling today. Though admittedly I though perhaps it would be the zippers I had ordered since they are overdue to come in, but instead it was a lovely polka dotted package from Germany. It was my Cakes Addict 2 swap. Excitement rushed over me.

I rushed home, threw off my shoes, coat, hat, and scarf and promptly opened the package. I absolutely love the surprise involved in swaps, you just never know what kind of goodies could be inside, and goodies there were! Inside was the most delightful collection of cupcake/baking items I could feast my eyes upon, and a special little postcard pertaining to my allergies, which was a real comfort.

The cake mix she sent was a Donau Waves mix, which I've never had before in my life nor, admittedly, have I really ever heard of. It will be exciting to try it out, and that shouldn't be too hard since she translated the package for me. Such a delight, and I couldn't be happier.

With packages and wonderful swappers like this, it's no wonder people get addicted to swapping. So to my wonderful swap partner, a big thank you!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tea For Two

It's that day yet again. I still don't understand the big deal about this day. Why do people need a forced day to celebrate their love? Why not every day? Though snuggling on the couch and watching a movie with someone you care for does sound lovely right about now. That's all I have to say on that subject I suppose.

My kitchen surprise swap has started, partners were assigned, and I put together a little gift of stainless steel measuring spoons with a little twine bow, one of my lovely vintage ice cream boxes, and a hand doodled cupcake tag with twine. I shall ship the lot off tomorrow, and I do hope my partner enjoys the set.

On a private swap front, I've been working up a number of 4x6 collage/mixed media prints in a sort of shabby chic/vintage style for a potential private swap. It's been quite enjoyable to have a reason to do such art pieces, and perhaps I shall make more before I'm through. In the mean time, I worked up five pieces for that swap. All are pictured, though the tea for two print I made for myself. On occasion it is nice to treat yourself, isn't it? I really should have looked for a frame while I was at the thrift shop today. Oh well, next time.

A quiet night ahead I expect. A bit of sewing, sloppy joes, and perhaps more art pieces will be in the works. Wherever you are, do have a happy and safe (wink wink) Valentines night.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Steals

I visited the thrift shop yet again today. I'm becoming quite a regular there. They are having "half off" days, so everything that is tagged is half off it's tagged price. Though I don't really have a use for it, I picked up this little dish set. It's a set of four including tea cups & saucers, dessert plates, bowls, and dinner plates (though one dinner plate is missing). It's in overall good condition, though a few pieces have just the slightest flaws, overall it's a neat little set. For a total of 1.25$ I couldn't say no. Perhaps someone, some day, will swap me for it? Who knows what will happen with this.

For a second steal I decided, what the heck, and bought a butter dish to add to my little collection of dishes. For some reason I'm oddly attracted to dishes...perhaps something in their delicateness that just draws me to them. Perhaps it's just because I imagine a Wonderland themed tea party and just can't help myself. Either way, at 50 cents for the little dish I once again could not say no.

That's the finds for today, but I'm sure I'll be back there soon...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tea Time

It's a little funny that I just adore tea related items, but I honestly don't drink tea. Do I dislike tea? I have no idea. I've honestly never really stopped to truly try different teas, perhaps I should.

My Wonderland Tea Party In A Box Swap items were packed up and shipped out my package for my partner, I do hope she likes it. I tried to make it a little whimsical, light hearted, elegant. I added just a touch of humor with a "tea" spoon. Get it? A little container of red craft paint for "painting the roses red" as well. Ahh, I'm just silly. The whole lot was pretty neutral, with great pops of red for the Queen Of Hearts theme. Overall I thought it was a rather sweet little lot, and I certainly hope the recipient agrees.

My swapping adventures continue with a kitchen surprise swap, as well as some private swaps. I love to do group swaps with a randomly selected partner, but sometimes it's also nice to know exactly who you will be swapping with ahead of time. It's nice to create a little something when you know who the person is ahead of time, you can make it more personal that way I feel.

Once again, there will be more swaps to come!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Knit Thrifts

LinkIt's Tuesday and I went to town. You know what that means? Thrift store scores! The local thrift store in town is only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 1-3pm so it's a small window of opportunity to get in there. Any chance I'm in town on those days I always enjoy taking a peek to see if there's any goodies of interest to me.

While scanning through the various shelves and boxes I found a fun little knitting booklet from 1961 and decided to pick up the set of four yellow knitting needles to go with it. The knitting needles were only 25 cents, and the booklet was free. You heard right, F-R-E-E. Who doesn't love free? Really. I checked through some of shelves to see the tea cups, and much to my surprise I found a tea cup that goes with my favorite set of dishes that once belonged to my Great Grandmother. Another steal at only 50 cents!

After paying for my few little items I noticed some vintage scarves, most of which didn't stand out to my at all, but upon digging found a sweetly subtle yellow colored dot scarf. At 25 cents it brought my total for the day up to a whopping 1 dollar. One whole dollar. I absolutely love stopping by the thrift shops and it's such a delight when you find little things you just adore, and it's much more special than buying something online...almost like a sort of treasure hunt, only you don't know exactly what you're looking for.

Speaking of online shopping, I must say this is slightly over due. I found the most lovely organic seed shop on etsy from a fellow Canadian and just had to pick up a few packets for my garden this year. Not only is the seller just lovely and helpful, but the packets are adorable and her blog is fabulous. Amazing photos, prices, and packaging. All around delight. Do be sure to check out her shop! After being inspired by her lovely packets, I made one myself from recycled brown packing paper. I had some sunflower seeds kicking around in ugly beat up envelopes so I prettied them up with a quick sunflower doodle. Pretty fancy, right?

So to sum it all up, I spent a dollar on happiness and seeds to feed me this summer and fall. To top things off, the weather was once again lovely for a February in Canada. Let's hope these good feelings continue.

Monday, February 6, 2012

23rd Celebration

Time really does fly, doesn't it? It seems like just yesterday that I celebrated my 18th birthday, when in fact yesterday was really my 23rd. I celebrated simply, and had a day filled with old memories, sweets, and kitchen trinkets. I had tidied up the night before so I could have that fresh start feeling when I woke up on my birthday. A great way to start the day.

As you may know, I only managed to grow two tiny pumpkins in my garden this year. I didn't carve either of them for Halloween as they were both tiny, one was an awkward shape, and the other was still green. Well, the funny shaped pumpkin was starting to take a turn and so for my birthday celebration I carved it. It was quite possibly the quickest pumpkin I have ever carved as it was so small, though rather difficult to pick the right space to carve since it was so awkwardly shaped. I lit it and that wonderful heated/burning pumpkin smell filled the room reminding me of Halloween. Glorious.

The night was simple, just movies and relaxation. For the first time in my 23 years on this earth I watched The Wizard Of Oz. Yes, you heard correctly...the first time ever. That seems almost ridiculous to some since it's such a classic and it would seem almost a right of passage for children to watch it, but I never did. That was followed by Alice In Wonderland, the 1951 Disney cartoon version, another absolute classic. Every year I have to have some touch of Wonderland on my birthday.

Twenty three years done, the start of another one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Swap A Lot

I'm not sure why, but I seem to swap in phases, and it would seem I'm in one of those phases. Recently, I joined a baking swap so while in the city yesterday I picked up all the little goodies for my partner. It's such fun actually having a good reason to go up and down the baking and kitchen aisles and having something to buy.

Wandering about our big box stores, I picked up what I thought were neat little things including the sweetest little cupcake containers. I picked up another one for myself, as well as one in a different style. Almost wish I'd bought more. I picked them up at Wal-Mart for those who may be interested, depending upon where you are, you could pick one up for yourself.

It's a little unfortunate that my partner is just a neighbor to the south. Not because I don't like our American neighbors, but because I imagine it was a bit of disappointment for her to receive something from Canada rather than a more international country. I certainly hope she doesn't have most of this stuff already, that would be such a shame.

There were six people in the swap, the gal I send to and myself were the only two from North America, and wouldn't you know it, I send to her. That seems to happen a lot on swap-bot. I know, I know, they're randomly selected, but still. Just seems fishy. Oh well, I tried to get things that were fun and useful and I hope she can make good use of them. :)

If you're interested in a fun little swap be sure to check out my Wonderland Tea Party In A Box Swap! Last day to sign up is on Sunday (my birthday actually =O), so be sure to check out the details on the swap-bot page!