Homespooled

 
Most Canadians are more than familiar with Tim Hortons restaurants.  The first time I had a tea biscuit from there, I almost spat it out.  I thought there is NO WAY this is a tea biscuit.  Up until that point, I had only known tea biscuits to be these perfect, sweet, pillows of goodness.  My great-grandmother had an old recipe (I don't know if even she knew where it originated from) and that was all I knew where tea biscuits were concerned.  Well, I was then aware that there were plenty of different types of tea biscuits.  But, no matter how many I've tried since then, I still prefer the old family recipe (which I've modified just a pinch).
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2  cup white granulated sugar
2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsps. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/2 cup almond milk

 
 
There are a lot of misconceptions out there where vegan cuisine is concerned.  Some people think that if it's vegan it can't taste good.  Some think that if it's vegan it HAS to be healthy.  Soooooo not true.  While many vegan dishes are both delicious AND healthy, some are not.  Especially if it's a dessert.  But there is nothing wrong with indulging every now and then.

I recently acquired these two cute little recipe books written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero: (There's also a pie one, and I WANT it)

 
 
I love zombies.  My sister also loves zombies.  We don't get to see each other too often because she lives about 6 hours away.  So when I found out that she would be visiting soon, I purchased something I had been eyeing for a while.

 
 
Years ago, when I first moved out of my mom's house, I came up with the recipe as an alternative to traditional guacamole.  The texture of a product really affects whether I like it or not.  I wanted something similar to guacamole, just a little smoother and creamier.   I played around with a lot of ingredients before coming up with this, and when I did, I polished off the bowl before anyone else could try it.

I have made this over and over again since then.  People who tell me they don't normally like guacamole, love it! (That's because it's not really guacamole)  I can even get the kids to down it.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Ingredients:
5 ripe avocados
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/2 cup Vegan Sour Cream (or regular sour cream)
2 tbsps. fresh lemon  juice
1 tsp. mild curry powder
1 tsp. ground  cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

 
 
While looking for a non-dairy alternative to sour cream, I stumbled upon a recipe called Tofu Sour Cream at VegWeb.com that I just had to try.  I already had all of the ingredients for it and the reviews were pretty good.

This homemade vegan sour cream is less expensive than store bought versions.  You know exaclty what went in it, and it is a great lactose-free option.

 
 
When I was 12 years old, I took a babysitting course with my cousin.  It was a one hour class, once a week for six weeks.  The only thing I remember from that course was the week we made play dough.  I was amazed at how simple it was to make.  I never ended up making any with the kids I would babysit, but I have made some with my own kids.

Here is a really quick recipe using basic ingredients that you usually have on hand:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup table salt
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil

 
 
When I was a kid, my mom bought me a series of craft books that each had their own theme.  One of them was all about crafts made with stuff from the kitchen.  In it was the idea of making stamps out of potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, even citrus fruits, that you would use to apply paint to a project.  I've tried a few of these out and the potato is by far my favourite.  Its surface is large enough to get the details right on simple designs, and it's much easier to carve into than a carrot, parsnip or turnip.

The idea is to cut the potato in half and carve out a desired shape, dip it in paint, then go to town:

 
 
I have a bunch of terry cloth leftover from a project a few years back.  This stuff is thick and takes up a lot of space.  To use it up, I've decided to make child & toddler sized bath mitts.  Anyone who has ever tried to put a glove on a kid's hand, or even just tried to get a kids thumb into the thumb of a mitt knows how hard it can be.   It sucks.  That's why I've decided to make these mitts finger/thumbless.  If you don't happen to have a giant pile of terry cloth sitting around, you can use old towels or washcloths to make these.  Use your judgment on the condition of the material. 

Materials required:
Terry cloth
Scissors
Sewing Machine
Thread
Strong Elastic (about 1/2" in width)
Optional: Trim/material to border wrist

To get started, you need to determine the size of hand you are making a bath mitt for.  If you happen to have the kid you're making it for hanging around, use their hand as your guide.  Make sure they'll have enough room for their hand in the mitt without it being too tight, plus an extra 1/4" - 1/2" border for you to sew around.  Make sure the wrist section at the bottom is wide enough to get their hand through (don't worry if it too loose, you're going to add an elastic to it), and long enough so that it sits below the wrist.

 
 
I am swimming in thread. I tried organizing all of my spools by colour into zip lock bags, then in a box, but it was too hard to get to them all.   And I didn't want to spend the $$ on one of those special thread organizers.  Plus to find one big enough for my stash would have cost too much and would have taken up too much space.  I don't have an office or a place to display these types of things, so I needed to find something that could be a space saver as well.  Something I could just neatly store away when not in use.  Then on a shopping trip to Michaels, I noticed that all of the scrapbook organizers were on sale.   Plus I had one of those 40% off coupons they have every week.  I don't know which containers are made for what in the scrapbooking world, so I just looked for something to serve my purpose.  This is what I found:

 
 
About 2 1/2 years ago, my grandmother was moving out of her house and I volunteered to help my aunt clear the place out.  Little did I know I was about to stumble upon a treasure trove.  I found decades worth of craft items such as pipe cleaners, felt, poly fill, thread, yarn, fabric, beads, sewing notions, etc.  Even an old Singer sewing  machine that still works.  How had I never seen all of this before?  My grandmother hadn't used these things in years, and she wasn't about to start then. She was happy to see me have them.  So I took what I wanted and loaded up my minivan (twice) and organized everything ever so neatly in the laundry room of my home.

 

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