Category Archives: Craftiness

Holiday Traditions – And a Ganong Giveaway!

Some people are into the themed, colour-coordinated, or matchy-matchy trees, but not me. Growing up, our Christmas tree was always a mismatched hodge-podge of ornaments that were bought, received as gifts, or hand-made. In fact, the making of ornaments is probably the single strongest memory I have of my childhood holiday traditions. My grandmother was the artsy type, and for many years through the 70s and 80s she ran a ceramics class out of her kitchen. She had kilns in the basement for firing her greenware, and shelf after shelf of figurines, dishes, ornaments and other tchotchkes to choose from. As a very young girl, I remember sitting at the big oval kitchen table, newspaper down in front of me to protect the fruit-themed tablecloth, pots of paint and a little cup of water to wash my brush to the side. I felt so grown up to be sitting there with Grandma, painting just like her. And every year, we painted ornaments. I still have most of the ones I painted, and a few that she did for me as well – bells and angels and Christmas trees, and even a few non-traditional ones like a dragon and a unicorn.

Making ornaments for our tree is a tradition I wanted to carry on with my children. We have done craft kits in the past, but this year I wanted them to take a stab at painting their own. Rather than seek out ceramic ornaments to paint, I found this Salt Dough Ornament recipe from Sarah at Doing All The Things, and decided that would be the ornament of choice for Christmas 2013.

This craft couldn’t have been simpler. The dough took about five minutes to make, and I even made it ahead and stored it in the refrigerator for a couple of days in an airtight container {but let it come to room temperature before rolling}. Jamie and Eliza had a blast helping out, using the big rolling pin to help me get it started, and then cutting out their Christmas-themed shapes with the big cookie cutters I found in my massive cookie-cutter collection. {As an aside, I rarely make cut-out cookies – why the heck do I have 562 cookie cutters in a box?}

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Once they were done rolling and cutting, we popped them into the oven to bake/dry for an hour. This was just enough time for the kids to sit down with some popcorn and watch the original animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas while I cleaned up the counter and went on the hunt for paint in my massive craft stash. And a hunt it was – why do I not have green tempera paint? Clearly that was an oversight when I was stocking the kids’ craft supplies. Thankfully it was remedied by finding paint set that had the necessary colours. And when the Grinch had returned the stolen Christmas goodies to Whoville and the ornaments had cooled, it was time to paint!

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And paint they did. Eliza didn’t need much guidance, but let me tell you, it was an interesting experience to help Jamie paint! At three years old, he didn’t really grasp the concept of washing his brush between colours, so his ornaments are more tie-died than clean. But that’s part of the charm, right? I think they look wonderful regardless, and he was so happy to paint them, and so proud to see them displayed. This is a craft that I think we will repeat, and not just during the holiday season – I have some dinosaur cookie cutters in my box of baking goodies that have yet to be opened. Perhaps we’ll make some Just Because ornaments in a month or so!

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I was recently invited to a media event hosted Ganong Bros., in celebration of 140 years of family-run business in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. When I told my friend Monica where I was headed after work that day, she gushed about her love of this true Canadian brand, and how Ganong was a core part of her family’s holiday traditions, and had been since she was a child. For Monica, a New Brunswick native, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a box of Ganong chocolates open for nibbling while decorating the Christmas tree – the double-dipped cherries were her father’s favourite, and she always has a box of the milk chocolate assortment for her daughters when they come home from university. But the key to her family’s Christmas celebration is a bowlful of Chicken Bones, the very first treat of Christmas morning while they open their gifts. Until recently, Ganong products were difficult to find out here in Alberta, and Monica had to resort to getting her family in the Maritimes to send her care packages, or to order online. One year, she wasn’t able to get them at all and instead bought a different brand of the same type of candy, and her daughters declared that Christmas just wasn’t Christmas without Ganong Chicken Bones!

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I left the Ganong event with armfuls of chocolates – a bag for me, a bag for Monica whose stories I shared with the Ganong family and staff at the event, and a bag to share with one of my lucky readers. This lovely assortment of candy and chocolate can be won by one of you! To enter, leave a comment with one of your favourite holiday memories or traditions, and I will draw a winner by random number. Contest closes for entries at midnight (Mountain time) on Friday, December 27th.

Happy holidays, readers! May your days be filled with love, light, and happiness always.

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DIY Nut Milk Bag

DIY Nut Milk Bag

I love almond milk, but I hate buying it. All the preservatives and god knows what – there’s got to be a better way, right? There is. You can make your own. I’ve posted a recipe over on my new blog, She’s So Green, with a full photo tutorial and recipe on making your own almond milk. It’s really easy – almonds, water, blender, and a method of straining it and you too can make your own. Check out the recipe, but make sure you keep reading below to find out how you can make your very own nut milk bag from something you might already have in your kitchen. And since my method ended up giving me TWO nut milk bags, I am going to give away the second one to one of my lucky readers. Details on how to enter to win your very own nut milk bag are at the end of this post! But keep reading to learn how to sew your own.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Gather your materials. You will need a flour-sack tea towel, and some manner of measuring and cutting it. The towels I have are 24×32 inches, a good size to cut precisely in half and make two. And because it was perfect to make two, there’s a giveaway down below, where you can enter for the chance to win my extra nut milk bag! But I digress, back to the tutorial!

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Fold your tea towel in half, so that it measures 12×16 inches, folded. Mark your tea towel and cut it in half. You want to have two pieces of material, approximately 12×32 inches. Now, on to the sewing! From here on out, we are working with just one of the pieces of tea towel, save the other one to make another nut milk bag, or whatever you like.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

You now have a piece of material that has three hemmed edges, and one raw edge. Fold your fabric, wrong sides together {which side is the wrong side? It doesn’t really matter.} so that the folded dimensions are approximately 12×16 inches. Set it up to sew a narrow seam all the way along the raw edge. You may want to pin before you sew – I didn’t, but I probably should have.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

After you’ve sewn a narrow seam along the unfinished edge, clip the corner where the fabric is folded. This is an optional step, but I find that the corner can get bulky if you don’t clip it, and this gives you some leeway in case your corner isn’t perfectly square.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Now, turn your fabric inside out. Or right-side in, rather. In the photo above, you can see the raw edges tucked inside. Sew along that edge again, so that the raw fabric edge is tucked inside the seam. This will prevent any fraying as you wash and use this bag for filtering food items. No one wants to find shreds of fabric in their food!

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Now, on to the other side. You don’t need to worry about tucking the edges inside the seam here, as your fabric is presumably already hemmed. So you can just flip the bag over to this side, and sew a seam along the long edge. On this side, however, make sure you leave about an inch or so unsewn at the open end – this will fold down to make a place for a drawstring.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Now that you have a bag, pin down the open end to make a channel for the drawstring. Once you have it pinned, sew a fairly wide seam {about 1/2 an inch} all the way around to make the drawstring channel.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Tie some cotton string onto a safety pin. This makes threading the drawstring incredibly easy. If you try to do it without some solid way of pulling the string through, you will want to rip out your hair, I promise.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Insert the safety pin into the open end of the drawstring channel. Alternate scrunching up the fabric and stretching it out again along the string to slowly advance the safety pin and its attached string through the channel. Once you reach the other side, stretch and smooth it out, and knot the string securely, a couple inches away from the bag when it is completely flat.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Voila: one drawstring bag for filtering nut milk. Easy, right? I hope it was. I am not a pattern writer, just a crafty chick, so if it’s confusing at all please comment or touch base with me via one of the social media icons on the sidebar, and I would be happy to clarify.

DIY Nut Milk Bag

Now, for the giveaway details. Would you like to win one of these nut milk bags for your very own? The bag is made of 100% cotton, from a clean, never-used {only washed} flour sack tea towel and sewn by yours truly. It has an approximate value of $10 {based on what similar products sell for}, and is available to be won residents of Canada and the US. I have no idea how to set up a fancy giveaway widget, so old-fashioned comments it is. You can get up to 4 entries, and here’s how you can do it:

1. Leave a comment on this entry.
2. Head over to She’s So Green, and leave a comment on the nut milk recipe there. Come back and leave another comment here to get another entry.
3. Tweet out loud and tag @oobinsnaffa, and leave another comment.
4. Like Blissful Domesticity on Facebook, and leave another comment.

Easy, right? I’ll draw a winner on Monday, and I’ll email the winner shortly thereafter, so please make sure the email address attached to your comments is correct. Good luck!

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In Honour of Pi{e} Day…

I Heart Pie

It’s March 14th, and do you know what that means? Minds out of the gutter, friends, it’s better than that. It’s PIE DAY! I didn’t get my act together quickly enough to share a pie recipe with you, but I did stitch up this super-cute little pie just for today. As if I weren’t domestic enough, yeah, I also cross-stitch. This is yet another craft that I picked up from my Grandma, so cuddling up on the couch with a warm blanket, a cup of tea, and some cross-stitch brings back fond memories of crafting with her, of leafing through her dozens of magazines, of picking out projects to work on. I don’t think I have any of my old projects {though I might, I do have a rather large box of god-knows-what from my mom}, but I still have the memories, and those are worth more than a dusty old keepsake any day.

I Heart Pie

I picked up this adorable pattern from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, which is my newest needlepoint obsession. For some reason, only their newer designs are there and not all of their patterns are available at that site, so you can find the pie love and other fun patterns in their meylah.com store.

Happy Pie Day, friends!

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