Next Weeks Menu

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Last week we were steadfastly sticking to grilling (after all, we are supposed to be hardy Canadians), but waking up this morning to -14C (8F) and looking out over a frozen expanse of lake has me tossing out all BBQ plans and opting for a week of hot oven meals.

This week will see everything cooked in the oven, although I am still trying to figure out how to cook a Reuben in the oven.  I may have to settle for the stove top method.  Speaking of Reuben’s, this will be my first attempt at making them.  Hubby loves a Reuben sammie once in a while so I figured I would try my hand at making them at home.  Hopefully he’s up to being a guinea pig.

The weekend will see us puttering around inside the Homestead now that the cold has settled over the landscape, but just because it’s cold out, it doesn’t mean you have to hibernate.  Get out and enjoy a brisk walk to get the heart and lungs pumping, then, afterwards you will really appreciate that cuppa hot chocolate when you come inside.

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My Husky & I…

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Huskystar that is…will be very busy the next couple weeks….so many sewing projects to do, so little time.  Actually, a lot of other projects on the go as well.  There is one knitting project, a whole lot of house de-cluttering going on, and let’s not forget my newest hobby ~ Bob the loom.

I think I need to get a day planner and start blocking hours for each project, as well as regular chores and work.

Meanwhile, here is a snippet of what I am working on….not included in this pic is a blue floral print for a blouse for my Mexico trip that is half done.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back at it…no time for idle chit chat!

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Looking for a Christmas Gift?

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Are you wracking your brain trying to think up of a gift
for your Sister, Mom, Grandma or Aunt Edna?

OR, are you planning a winter getaway in the sun and need an Island Purse?

Look no further than these glossy pics…

These are the last of my handmade vacation purses in stock and
I am selling them off at a 60% discount!!

Oh…and I almost forgot, each purse comes with a matching makeup case inside (that is an $8 value – FREE), attached on a tether…so you won’t lose it…or the purse if you attach the tether to your belt loops.

Each Purse is only $20.00 CDN.   First come ~ First Served.
(shipping extra, email me for rates to your locale, pymt via Paypal only)

Purse Collage1Email me at if anyone is interested.

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Time To De-clutter..

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As I wander from room to room in my house, it hits me….where does all this ‘stuff’ come from???  Slowly, almost insidiously, things start piling up in the corners of the rooms, or under tables, or falling out on you as you open the linen closet.

clutterbustingTime to get organized.  Time to pull out the Reuse bins, the Toss bins and the Recycle bins and sort the accumulations of what-not’s and doo-dad’s.  I have enough what-not’s and doo-dad’s already.  I normally do this ritual at the beginning of the year, and I already did do it at the beginning of the year, but for some reason, it needs to be done NOW.  I can’t wait another day.

With Christmas fast approaching, if I want to be able to host Christmas Eve fun, food and frivolity, I need to de-clutter, or I will have no room for guests.

Anyone need a what-not?  Selling them cheap…. $5.00 a bushel.

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Top 10 Hints That Winter Has Arrived…

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In case you don’t know how to read a calendar (or simply do not have one), I will run down the top 10 hints to let you know that Winter has arrived.  If you come up with at least 5 of these, chances are Winter is in your neck of the woods.


One ~ The butter that sits on the counter is rock solid.

Two ~ You  have to bribe the dog to go outside to do his business.

Three ~ The mice are cozying up to the fireplace in the family room,
mug of hot cocoa in hand.

Four ~ Suddenly wearing flip flops outside turns your toes blue.

Five ~ The thermostat set at 67F for Summer, now feels awfully chilly for Winter.

Six ~ The salad spinner goes away and the crockpot comes out.

Seven ~ Bathing suits, shorts, tees and tank tops are popping up in the retail stores just in time for Winter sun/fun vacations.

Eight ~ You swap garden shovels for snow shovels.

Nine ~ You go from shaving your legs once a day to once a week.

Ten ~ Your Travel Agents tel # is now on speed dial for said vacation mentioned above.

I already have my vacation to sunny Mexico booked for Winter…how about you?

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Next Weeks Menu

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Will not consist of turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed taters and pumpkin pie…that is reserved for our American friends who will be stuffing themselves to the gills and watching a gazillion football games next Thursday.  Later on that evening, some of them will line up at department stores waiting for the bell to ring at midnight to signal the start of Black Friday.

I just don’t get all the hubbub about Black Friday.  Who thought it was a good idea to drag themselves away from a couch in a turkey laden stupor to go shopping?  All I know is that the craze has now crept over the border the past 2 years and invaded retail Canada.  We do not need another ‘Boxing Day’ sales bonanza…but apparently the retailers think we do.

Anyway, enough on that topic, the weekend is upon us and it’s time to relax and do some knitting (I can’t tell you what it is as it is a Xmas gift) as well as plan out my warp stripes for the Twill Tea Towels.  Weather permitting, I will drag hubby out for a walk (or two) and maybe bring some treats for Shiloh & Sierra if they are in their paddock.  They need more treats now that the grass has stopped growing with the arrival of cold weather.  The woods will be silent now that deer season has come to a close but the duck hunters will still be out as their hunting season ends at the end of the year.  Poor duckies….maybe I should knit them some kevlar vests.

Have a good weekend folks, here is your weekly menu inspiration…

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Twill Tea Towels

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I think I can… I think I can… I think I can….

I think I may finally be ready to start weaving an actual project.  I have been playing with sock yarn on the loom for the past couple weeks which has allowed me to develop a rhythm as well as give me lots of opportunity to learn the finer points of weaving (and the sometimes sorry looking results while traversing the learning curve).

After straining my mental capacity learning how to calculate yarn requirements for each project to be developed on the loom, it was time to sit down and come up with my very own design for a set of 4 tea towels.

I spent last weekend with a pad of graph paper, pencil, ruler and several cans of beer….and this is what I came up with:

Twill Tea Towel PatternPsychedelic enough?

Do you feel like the room is moving?

The top and sides are a regular Twill patterning with the center dots being called a Point Twill.  The whole pattern will repeat from top to bottom along the length of the towel with the pattern going across as you see it.  Once I had a snippet of what I wanted written on graph paper, I created a spreadsheet in Excel to replicate it.  Which was much easier as you can customize how many repeats width-wise and length-wise utilizing the copy/paste function.

Next was to figure out how much yarn I needed for the project, which entailed starting at what you want in a finished size of towel and working backwards.  Lots of math…with lots of eraser being used up.  Thankfully I am still sane after this first go round.

Next is to figure out what colours to use…

Weaving CottonHere is some 8/2 cotton yarn (8 being the size of the yarn and the 2 denoting how many plys there are) that I am thinking of using.  Having several stripes of different/matching colours for the warp (the threads from front to back) and using a natural or white for the weft (the threads that go side to side), that should highlight the pattern without making it too busy.

Now that I have the colours picked out, it will be time to start warping…I love the lingo in weaving, it makes me feel like I am on board the Spaceship Enterprise with Captain Pickard.

Stay tuned…

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Montreal ~ Une Belle Ville

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C’est Bon!

It has been several years since we visited one of our favourite cities in Canada…Montreal.  Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and the second largest in Canada (after Toronto), surprisingly large for being located in the middle of a river.  Montreal is an island city surrounded by the fast flowing waters of the St. Lawrence River.

Rue de la ArtisiansWe usually head to Montreal every few years to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We were not married there, nor did we honeymoon there, but the city holds such history, culture and character that we just love to spend the weekend walking through the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Montreal exploring the many gift shops, boutiques, art galleries and museums.

DSC00979The architecture of the grand old buildings is simply stunning.  Solid oak doors like the one above are unheard of today in modern building construction.  Many companies have been located in Montreal for over a hundred years, the one below I am sure you can guess as to what they produce…

DSC00980Even though Montreal is a bustling, busy city, smack in the middle of the island you will find Mont Royal, the namesake of the city.  A natural hill (mountain) that is a nature-lovers paradise set amongst a concrete jungle.  A place where you can spend an hour or two walking its trails and climbing to view the spectacular skyline of the city below.

Climbing Mont RoyalMont Royal ViewDSC00974After you climb down from the mountain, head over to one of the many brasseries (breweries) featuring local micro-brewed beers or enjoy one of the many restaurants serving an excellent variety of cuisines to suit just about everyone’s tastes.

DSC00984I hope you have enjoyed this little snippet from our last visit there in 2009…. I think I will have to plan another visit this coming May, and If you ever get the chance to head to ‘La Belle Province’, Montreal should be at the top of the must-see list…

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Mushroom & Barley Soup

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Nothing like a brisk, cold, northern wind smacking you in the face to get you into the mood for soup.

I have been in soup mode since our Thanksgiving a month ago and have already made and ate several hundred bowls of home made turkey soup, squash soup and tomato mushroom soup.  This time though I had a hankering for barley…. but alas, no beef or beef stock to make it out of.  Since I am the queen of kitchen improv, I utilized the last of my turkey stock along with a mittenful of mushrooms.

The result?

Fantastic if I do say so myself…

With no meat in it (except the turkey stock part), this soup is light but the addition of the mushrooms darkens the broth and you would swear it was made from a beef base.  If you like mushrooms, then you will love this soup!  If you don’t, perhaps this one will be more to your liking…

I always share my kitchen successes….never my failures, but I will tell you on occasion what may not have worked for me in the past…maybe.

Mushroom & Barley Soup


1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried, crushed thyme or 1 tsp fresh, chopped thyme
2 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
8 cups home-made turkey stock *
2 cups baby spinach leaves, torn


In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-low heat, add onions and cook until translucent, stirring often. Add garlic, thyme, sage and black pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add mushrooms, increase heat just a tich to quickly get the mushrooms softened and the liquid coming out of them (about 5-6 minutes).

Add turkey stock and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for at least an hour or until the barley is cooked through.

Remove from heat, uncover and add spinach. Stir until wilted.  Taste and adjust seasonings* if necessary.   Serve with crusty bread and a side salad.

Makes about 8 cups.
*Note ~ this recipe can be made vegetarian by swapping the turkey stock for veggie stock.   Also, please note I do not use salt in most of my recipes due to a family member with hypertension, but feel free to add it to your own pot of yummy goodness.

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What Was I Thinking?!

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Apparently I wasn’t.

Like when I was knitting a pair of mittens a few weeks ago and forgot to knit the thumb gusset.  I soon realized that there isn’t a market for thumbless mittens and ripped it out to start over.  This is known as a ‘DUH’ moment in knitting.

Last Friday’s post was also a  major ‘DUH’ moment, which saw an overwhelming vote in favour of the colour header picture over the black and white one.

Therefore, I humbly accept the publics preference and have brought the colour header back, albeit with a slightly different picture, ok, more than a slight difference.  I hope you like the new one.

So, that’s it, no more experiments for me…

and if you believe that, I have some land in Florida to sell you.

Thanks to all who participated!

The moral of the story?

Always knit your thumb gussets….and listen to your readers.

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