Saturday, 13 September 2014

Herringbone Art

I recently made another piece of artwork for my guest room and it might be my favourite piece I've ever made. It took a lot of time and was very tedious but I'm thrilled with the results.

For this piece I used acrylic paint, paper meant for used with acrylic paint, a paint tray, and fine-tipped paint brushes.

The pictures taken in progress were taken with my cell phone in dim light. Sorry.

To paint I started with the left and went in horizontal rows, using one brush per colour so I didn't have to worry about cleaning the brush after each colour. I wasn't really picky about my vertical lines but used a piece of paper as a guide to keep them fairly straight.

Once it was finished I put it in a classic white Ikea frame. I'm excited that the guest room is coming together, piece by piece, and I can't wait to get it all done.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Honey Garlic Chicken - Crock Pot Freezer Meal

I have exciting news: I bought a crock pot. Ok, that may not be exciting to you but I'm thrilled. I actually had a tiny one before but never used it so I'm definitely a newbie. I decided it would be a good way to eat less takeout on days when I know I'll be late from school.

For my first recipe I made Honey Chicken from Six Cents. I followed the recipe quite closely. The only changes I made were using 1 tbsp of minced garlic and 1 tsp of ground ginger instead of fresh.

First I labeled my bags: name, cooking instructions, and date. Then I added four chicken breasts to each bag.

Next I mixed all the wet ingredients in a bowl and dividing the mixture between two bags. 

To cook I pulled this from the freezer and put the frozen contents of the bag and one cup of water in the crock pot.

I cooked the meal on low for seven hours and the chicken was so cooked it was starting to fall apart.

Because it's just the two of us, each bag is enough for two meals. I served this with rice and corn, and made enough rice for tomorrow. All I'll have to prepare tomorrow is a veggie side and it'll be ready to eat.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about slow cooker freezer meals but this one is great. Even my picky-eater husband said it was a "make again". 

If you have any great crockpot freezer meals, feel free to send the recipes my way!

Shared at: A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, Natasha in Oz, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Belle of the Kitchen, My Pinterventures, What Meegan Wants, Lines Across, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, Delicious and DIY, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, Home Coming, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Fridge Shelf Liners - A Pinterest Unsuccess

I don't want to call this a Pinterest fail because it really wasn't a fail, it just wasn't something that worked for me. This idea is all over Pinterest but I'm not going to link to any posts because, seeing as I don't like it, linking seems rude.

I hate cleaning my fridge almost as much as I hate having a dirty fridge. I especially hate the little milk crusty bits that always seem to end up on one of my shelves. When I saw the idea to cover my shelfs in Press and Seal I thought it was brilliant - I could remove the piece when it was dirty without having to clean the shelf.

Crusty Milk Bits

My first mistake occurred when putting my Press and Seal on the shelves. I ran it over the edges which looks nice but meant it wasn't easy to remove or replace.

My second mistake was thinking I'd actually change the Press and Seal. It turns out I'm just as lazy about changing it as I am about cleaning the shelves.


My third mistake was thinking the Press and Seal was durable enough to survive my house. The first time I scraped a bowl on the Press and Seal, it ripped. That kind of defeats the purpose.

So what happened? The Press and Seal sat there, no cleaner or nicer looking than a dirty shelf, for months until I finally got around to taking it off. Like I said, while I like the idea behind this pin it sure didn't work for me.

A pic from when I thought there'd be a tutorial.
Yes, our fridge is typically this empty. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Smushed Paint Artwork

Another project I've completed for the guest room is this smushed paint artwork. I'm going to be upfront with you; I don't like it. I think the colours make it look like something from the 80s and it just isn't working for me. With that said, I think with different colours or on a smaller scale is has a lot of potential so I decided to share. The idea came from Claudia at Peep My Style and her pieces look fantastic.

Large paper (I used bristol board)
Garbage bag

This project is so simple a tutorial is hardly needed, but here it is anyway. I accidentally deleted pics for steps one and two. Sorry.

Step 1: Lay out the paper on a flat surface. I laid a garbage bag on my table under the paper so I could get a little messy.

Step 2: Use a spoon to splatter paint on the paper.

Step 3: Press the two sheets of paper together, being sure to rub them well and not to move or smudge them.

Step 4: Peel them apart, let them dry, and you're done. Or if you're me you decide adding more paint will make them better.

Step 4.5: Repeat steps two, three, and four. 

Step 5: Wait for the pictures to dry and hang them up. 

I thought maybe they'd grow on me but they haven't so they'll be getting redone when I'm feeling inspired.

Shared at: Natasha in Oz, Life on Lakeshore Drive, What Meegan Makes, My Pinterventures, Upcycled Treasures, Home Coming, Fluster Buster, A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love

Monday, 1 September 2014

Need Wifi Guest Room Sign

I've been slowly puttering away at the guest room and one simple project I made is this need wifi? picture. I've seen lots of wifi password pictures and printable online but none were exactly what I wanted so I decided to create my own. 

This project came together quite quickly using PicMonkey. It's nothing fancy but I've put it below without a watermark. Feel free to save it to your own computer for personal use or leave a comment and I'll email you the document. 

I printed it at Costco (along with several extra blanks that I put in the back of the frame) and wrote our information on it with a Sharpie.

When J saw this his reaction was "We're not a hotel. Why do we need this? Why don't they just ask us?". I guess we really don't need it. But I like it, it's cute, and it goes with the room. So it stays.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Ground Turkey Hamburger Soup (Gluten and Dairy-Free)

One thing I used to loathe was packing a lunch every day. It was annoying enough when I could eat anything but after giving up gluten and dairy is became a serious challenge. Towards the end of last year I found the perfect solution: individual portions of frozen soup. Given how well it worked, I decided to do it again this year. 

I couldn't resist a tiny bowl before freezing the rest.

This hamburger soup was one of my favourites last year so I made another batch. The recipe is a modified version of one I was given by my principal. Because I don't eat beef, I make mine with ground turkey. I also change the types and amounts of veggies depending on what I have on hand.

1 pound ground turkey (I typically just use 1 package)
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans mushroom pieces
2 cups chicken bullion
1/2 cup ketchup
4 cups hot water (+extra to top up)
salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Cook ground turkey in a frying pan. 

Step 2: In the bottom of a large soup pot, heat olive oil, carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are almost cooked but still slightly crunchy.

*I usually do steps 1 and 2 at the same time.

Step 3: Add the ground turkey and all the other ingredients into the soup pot. As you can see below, I typically add a little extra water to make my pot extra full. Bring to a simmer until veggies are completely cooked. Based on how cooked my veggies are when I add the liquids, I let my soup simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes.

Last week I spent an afternoon in the kitchen and, along with this hamburger soup, I made two other recipes. By spending one afternoon in the kitchen I started the school year with 31 individual lunches frozen and ready to go. Add in lunch out once a week and a few meals of leftovers and I should be good until November.

10 meals of hamburger soup, cooling and ready for the freezer.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Runners Tell All: Favourite Person To Train With/Routine/Tips

It's time again for the monthly link up from Amanda at The Lady Okie and Becka at Sunshine to the Square Inch. This month the topic is Favourite Person To Train With / Routine / Tips.

I know I'm a little late with this but I wasn't sure I was going to link up. I actually injured myself at the start of the summer and took a lot longer to heal than expected. However, I've been feeling great lately so I decided this morning to get back at it. While I was out running my usual route I snapped a few pictures and decided to write about who I run with and when I run. As you'll see, it's very beautiful where I run. We live in a small city and our house is on the edge of it so I run away from houses as much as possible.

I usually see these horses on my run.

I'm a solo runner. While I started running for health reasons and because I liked the thought of it, it has become such an important part of my life. I'm a teacher at an alternative school and am one of those lucky people who loves their job! In case you're not familiar with the role of an alternate school, we're the school for the students in our division who are struggling or unable to be successful in a traditional school setting. As much as I love it, it can quite stressful. Anyway, once I got into the groove of running, it became my release. It's my time to reflect on the events of the day or week, and to work through my stresses and emotions. It's also when I come up with some of my best ideas for addressing issues and developing lesson plans.

There aren't many lakes around here but I often run beside this one.

As for when I run, if you read the last paragraph you can probably guess. My favourite time to go is after school. I'm a morning person but I like to go to school early and don't want to give up that time for running. Also, as I explained above, it allows me time to work through my day. I actually think running after school has helped me find balance because it allows me to work through my day so during the evening I can focus on other things. I remember one day in particular last year that was extremely challenging. I didn't leave school until much later than usual, picked up take-out on the way home, and told J to go ahead and eat his. I left my food in the microwave and went for a run. At the start of my run I was in a horrible mood but by the time I got home I was feeling more calm. It didn't magically fix the situation but it did allow me to work through it, which was exactly what I needed.

My route takes around these cows most days.

As for any tips, the only thing I struggle with when running after school is getting supper ready. I typically know what days I plan on running during a week and will plan meals for those days that can be prepared and then put in the oven and left for an hour. I'll prepare them when I get home and put them in the oven, then leave a note for J with the temperature and length of time. He turns the oven on and sets the timer and by the time I'm home supper is almost ready. I don't know about you but after a run, I'm hungry!