Tag Archives: easy

Trick or Treat: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween night is finally here. As I scrambled to get my pumpkin carved before all the little ghouls and witches arrived, I realized that these opportunities don’t come around every day. Pumpkin season is almost over, so I’ve got to enjoy every last flavour of pumpkin while I can! I easily separated the seeds from the carving “guts” and set them aside.

For some reason, I have always had some pre-conceived idea that toasted pumpkin seeds were tricky to make. I’ve tried making them in the past and was never quite satisfied. But this time it was different. The seeds toasted really nicely and quickly and were crunching between my teeth before I could even say “Happy Halloween”.

TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

As you “gut” your pumpkin, separate the seeds as best as you can. Place them in a bowl. Place them in a strainer and run them under water for a while, separating all the pumpkin bits and strings. Measure the pumpkin seeds. In a medium saucepan, for every 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, add 2 cups of water and 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Strain.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a baking pan with olive oil and lay the seeds out as evenly as possible. Place on the highest rack in the oven and toast for 10-15 minutes or until seeds are slightly browned. Remove from oven. Allow to cool. Transfer to a small serving dish or air tight container.

That’s it–so easy, right? They’re crunchy and can be adorned with any flavours that suit your taste. Perhaps cinnamon and sugar? Maybe some taco spice? The flavour possibilities are so versatile and endless.

I hope you all have a wonderfully Happy Halloween! Don’t do too much tricking, and certainly don’t eat too many treats (even though it’s so tempting).

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DIY: Bedazzle Your Cargos

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a young girl bought a new pair of cargo boots. It wasn’t that she really needed them, but she just couldn’t pass up the very affordable price of this particular pair. She wore cargo boots every single day because they were incredibly comfortable, incredibly durable, went well with jeans and leggings, and were easy to slip on and off. The new, very affordable pair were black but because she already owned a pair of black cargo boots, she decided that she would save them for a very special project that she had in mind.

Time passed. More time passed. And eventually the young girl realized that the (not so) new, very affordable black cargo boots were still sitting under her desk, untouched. So the young girl pulled out her supplies, got to work, re-fashioned the boots, and came out with a beautiful (and quite practical) pair of black cargo boots that had a touch of floral. The young girl loved her pair of new, very affordable, partially recycled, black with a touch of floral cargo boots and she lived happily ever after (okay, so it’s only been one day, but she’s been happy for that one day).

Okay, so the fairytale isn’t really that magical. But I must say that I was pretty excited when I finally got around to re-fashioning my inexpensive boots. This may, perhaps, be my favourite DIY project to date. In case you haven’t realized from some of the designs on my blog, I love floral. And in case you didn’t clue in, the “young girl” in the fairytale above is, in fact, me. I love cargo boots. So what results, you may ask? Well take a little gander at the picture above and then you will understand. Hence my excitement.

Want to know the best part about this project? It is so incredibly easy! The original idea came from A Beautiful Mess, and so I hereby take no credit for developing this DIY project (head over that way to check out the boots they created–it may give you a little more inspiration)! The project requires only a few materials that you will most likely find around your home (minus the boots…unless you want to re-fashion an old pair of yours–all the power to you!). They are also partially recycled through the use of thrifted or scrap fabric.

  • a pair of cargo boots
  • thrifted, recycled, or scrap fabric (it does not need to be floral–try stripes, polka dots, paisleys, etc.)
  • scissors
  • white glue
  • a paint brush
  • a cup or container
  • a small amount of water
  • scrap papers or newspaper
  • an exacto or japanese paper knife
ONE: Gather all of your materials. Remove the laces from your boots and mark the sections that you would like to cover. Cut your scraps of fabric large enough to generously cover these areas. In your cup or container, mix equal parts of white glue with water. Lay down scrap papers or newspapers to prevent any mess. TWO: Working in small sections at a time, glue the fabric to the boot. Use the pure glue for the first attachement of the fabric. This may require you to cut the more general shape of the area you are covering out of your fabric as you work. Ensure that you don’t cut too much though, as the excess can be removed later. Once the fabric is glued to the boot, allow it to dry completely. This may take most of the day or even through the night, but be patient. The better it is stuck on the more durable it will be. Repeat for the second boot. THREE: When the first glue layer is completely dried, cover the entire fabric area with the glue-water mixture. Allow it to dry solid. FOUR: Once that layer is dried, using the exacto-knife cut around the edges, trimming off the excess fabric so that it fits nicely into the desired area. This may take a bit of patience and effort. If the edges aren’t glued down completely, you may be able to indent the fabric and then use the scissors to cut the line. Either way, ensure that the fabric fits into the desired area. FIVE: Cover the entire fabric area, especially the fresh-cut edges with the glue-water mixture. Allow to dry and then repeat. Continuously add more glue-water layers until you are satisfied (I did 4-5 coats). Allow to dry over night. Re-lace your boots and take ’em for a spin!
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There you go! Sure, it takes a little bit of time with all the glue-applying-and-drying required, but all in all it is a very simple project! I hope you are inspired to take it on and bedazzle your old or new boots (minus the cheesy bling, of course). Thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m off to break these bad boys in with a lovely little walk around the block!
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Notecards, Invites, and Letters, Oh My!

Hola Amigos! Have you ever been to one of those fun little “parties” at someone else’s home where a bunch of women get together, socialize, eat, and shop for tupperware, candles, candies, cosmetics, or kitchenware? As a child, I used to dream about the days when I would get to go with my mom to one of these suburban “house” parties. Well, guess what? Now I get to host one! And much to my pleasure, the title of host comes along with the opportunity to do all the fun party preparations (including making the invitations)! So I am going to share with you a dandy little post about

Making notecards, invitations, and other special occasion cards is one of my favourite things to do. In my opinion, homemade cards show love and care to the people they are specially made for. Quite honestly, homemade cards are a very enjoyable way to release some creative energy and to share the love! My crazy-one-man-assembly-line invitation making has inspired me to share with you some easy and practical ways to create your very own customized stationary.

I transformed my “customized stationary” into invitations for my party but this is a similar approach I take for making everyday notecards to have on hand. I like making a large batch at one time so I don’t have to pull out all of my supplies every time I need a card. I make them in basic colours so when I have a recipient in mind, I can just add a few extra decorations that are special for that person. One my favourite combinations are black and white patterned paper with a colour highlight. Black and white matches everything so it makes a great “base” paper for your customized stationary. However, depending on the time of year you can use holiday or season themed papers as your base paper.

If you’re adventurous enough, you can make your own card base. I prefer to buy pre-made blank cards because they come with envelopes and are more convenient. I then cut out a bunch of appropriately sized blocks of paper in various patterns. This allows very easy access to “grab and glue” to the base cards.

I like using unique scissors and shapes to create special features on the cards like this “curvy” edge. For my invitations I wanted uniformity, but when I make “everyday” stationary, I like to play around with placement and colour. Not one card looks the same as another. The perfectionist in me always notices some that I don’t like as much as others, but that is to be expected when playing around and trying different things.

When I’m all finished, I have a big stack of customized cards that are easily accessible for life’s little moments. They are great for sending encouraging little notes, adapting into birthday cards, or transforming into invitations. I did this by adding a few words on the front and the invite information on the inside. I even added a little stamp to fill the inside.

Creating your own customized stationary is one of the easiest things because it is completely up to you how they turn out. There are no expectations and so they always turn out wonderfully. Some things you may want to consider using is different patterned paper, recycled goods, unique scissors, punches, stamps, markers, ink pads, stickers, or add-on decals. Play around with paper shapes and colours. Experiment with making your own card bases and envelopes (for unique shapes) and using pre-made cards. Card-making can get pretty expensive but it doesn’t have to be. You can use old wrapping papers, scraps of paper, and recycled cards. It’s just a fun way to be a little bit creative and show a little bit of personalized love in a time and culture when mass-produced cards are chosen for convinience. Your customized stationary can be convenient too though.

Good luck on creating your very own stationary. Let me know how it goes!

If you are a little more daring, check out this challenge!

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DIY: Elbow Patch Cardigan

I am very pleased and excited to finally be able to share this DIY fashion project with you. I have had this project completed for months but I just couldn’t find the time to get out and take some darling photos of it. Luckily, yesterday graced me with some beautiful sunshine, a beautiful model, and a little bit of free time. I am pleased to share with you this very easy and cute DIY Elbow Patch project.

Ever since elbow patches hit the stores on cardigans, sweaters, shirts, and blazers I was instantly in love. But I could never find the perfect sweater in the stores that matched my budget. For the past four months (since the dawn of the new year) I haven’t been buying any clothing so I decided that I needed to improvise. The original idea came from A Beautiful Mess where they made adorable little heart elbow patches. I opted to stay away from the hearts and instead just adapted their process to create standard elbow patches. The cardigan was one that I already had but found that I wasn’t wearing it very often. However, I can honestly say that since I have given it a little makeover, I have worn it a lot more!

I think that my favourite thing about this re-fashioned sweater is that it is completely recycled. For the patches, I used fabric that was thrifted and the cardigan itself was one that was straight from my closet. For this reason, your re-fashioned sweater will be uniquely original! The actual process takes only half an hour to do. Would you like to give it a try?

  •  an old or thrifted cardigan or sweater
  • a scrap of thrifted fabric
  • a pen
  • a piece of thin cardboard
  • pins
  • a needle
  • scissors
  • thread that matches your fabric scrap

The process of creating these DIY Elbow Patches is really quite simple. It does require a little bit of hand sewing and a little bit of patience. Before I begin writing out the process, I would just like to apologize for the lack of pictures demonstrating the process. Since I completed this project so long ago, I accidentally deleted the “process” photos. However, I am confident in the fact that this project is easy enough to do without the photos. If you really don’t understand something, just ask or reference the original post from A Beautiful Mess.

ONE: Put on your cardigan and mark where your elbows are when they are bent. Place an X directly on the sweater. The patches will cover this area once they are sewed on.

TWO: Using your piece of cardboard, draw an elbow patch in your desired shape. I used a basic oval shape but this can be customized in any way. Cut out the shape and lay it on one sleeve of your cardigan or sweater to ensure that it is an appropriate size. When you are happy with the size and shape of your patch template, trace it twice on to your fabric scraps. Cut out the fabric patches.

Note: It does make a difference which type of fabric you use to make your patches. The fabric I used had a bit of stretch and did not fray when it was cut. This is important because I did not need to take into account a hem and instead could just sew the exact shape onto my cardigan. If you really want to use a fabric that frays, take into account that you will need to hem the edges and therefore it will take a little extra fabric, care, and time when sewing the patches on.

THREE: Place the patches onto your cardigan so that they cover the X’s you marked earlier. Ensure that both patches are placed evenly. Once they are in place, pin them into position. Carefully try on your cardigan to make sure that the patches are placed in the right position for your arms.

FOUR: Thread your needle and begin to sew one of the patches on the cardigan by sewing around the edge of the patch. Repeat for the second patch, ensuring that it is still in an appropriate position.

FIVE: Wear your new elbow-patched cardigan!

Well, there you have it, dear friends. Thank you for reading through. I would love to see some of your DIY Elbow Patch creations if you dare to take it on. It really is a great way to add your own custom touch to some of your clothing, especially if you are getting tired of your boring wardrobe (this always happens to me!).

I would just like to say a very special “thank you” to my lovely sister for modelling for me. Isn’t she a beauty?!

For the record, the whole “no-clothes-buying-challenge” is going great! I am excited to share even more posts very soon with some of the creations that have resulted from it. Stay posted for even more DIY posts coming your way. Many crafting, sewing, knitting, and baking blessings on these beautiful sunny days!

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Knitting 101: Easy Mistake Stitch Infinite Scarf

Holy cow. It is April. Can you believe it? All I can say is that just because it is unlikely that the snowflakes will fall, there is no reason to stash the cozy knit scarves away for the season. April has been known to have some chilly days. Break the chilly air (and your urge to knit, knit, knit) with this fool proof pattern for a thick, cozy, and quick-to-knit infinite scarf.

A while back, I saw a darling photo on Pinterest (of course) of a deep maroon purple scarf paired with a light blue collared shirt. I was instantly drawn to the combo. Maybe it is the artist coming out in me, but the contrast between the two colours was captivating. Not long after, I came across the perfect coloured wool on sale at Michaels and decided to knit one up for myself. Maybe you should give ‘er a try too!

If you’re a beginner knitter, this is the perfect project for you! I am not an old-pro at knitting and haven’t dared tackling the circular needles yet. Instead, I make my infinite scarves by knitting a regular scarf and then sewing the two ends together at the end. This is a very easy solution for those who aren’t comfortable with circular needles. There is a seam, but if sewn neatly, it looks uniformed and is usually tucked into the collar of my shirt or covered by my hair anyways.

This pattern was adapted into an infinite scarf from a pattern on The Purl Bee. As long as you know how to do a simple knit and purl stitch, it is essentially fool-proof.

For this project, you will need the following:

  • A set of 7mm straight knitting needles
  • Two balls of thick wool in your desired colour (I used Lion Brand Yarn Wool-Ease, Thick & Quick in Claret)
  • A large sewing needle

Cast on 39 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 2, Purl 2, K2, P2 (continue to repeat), finish on a P1

Row 2-end: Repeat the previous row over and over again.

That’s it. I know–easy, right? Continue to follow this pattern over and over again until you have reached a desired length. I have found that a good length requires nearly two full balls of wool. However, ensure that you have enough wool left to sew in the end. When you have reached your desired length, cast the scarf off your needles. Using the extra wool and a large needle, sew the two ends together. When finished, sew in the loose ends. And there you have it–a cozy, thick-ribbed knit infinite scarf.

If you desire alternating the pattern in any way (such as making it thicker or thinner), use increments of 4 +3 stitches. For example, if you would like to make it thicker, cast on 43, 47, or 51 initial stitches. Or to make it thinner, cast on 35, 31, or 27 initial stitches.

I just needed to share this photo that shows a very small fraction of my scarf collection. The scarf on the left is this Easy Mistake Stitch Infinite Scarf. You can never have too many cozy scarfs…that’s all I’m saying!

There you have it, friends. It is such an easy scarf to knit up. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. It may also be useful to reference the original pattern from The Purl Bee (you can do that by clicking HERE). Thanks for stopping by!

I hope you enjoy what April brings for you, whether it’s chilly or not!

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