(we've adopted a senior dog through a rescue, with the hopes of giving her a quality life for her last few years-she has really settled in and we're enjoying twice the affection, loyalty + cuddliness that weimaraners are known for)
like many of you i love perusing books for craft + art inspiration. often i turn to my bookshelf when i am looking for a particular technique or specific "how-to" + sometimes i pull down a book for pure inspiration without a project in mind.
if a book has a place in the craft/DIY/ inspiration section of my bookshelf it is because of the following:
it contains interesting, yet simple projects
there is beautiful photography where the projects take center stage (+ not just the props)
i find a new-to-me technique that appears do-able (without needing a lot of new tools)
and perhaps most importantly:
a few of the book projects must immediately make me think "oh, this gives me another idea". that, to me, is the trademark of an especially great project in that it leads my imagination to other ideas that i want to explore.
i used chalkboard spray paint for this project because i had a can that was almost empty and needed to be used up--otherwise it is not very economical for this type of project. the next time i would use regular black spray paint.
when you remove a ribbon handle from any type of box with the intent to do a make over, keep the ribbon to act as a ruler for measuring your "new handle".
have fun. don't worry too much about drips and spots--my paint job was not perfection but because it was black/fall/Halloween themed i felt the scuffiness that showed up in spots was okay.
...another box i am working on-it still needs another coat of paint.
i know some people will prefer the before but i like the fact that the price point of these boxes doesn't make them 'too precious' + you can paint them up or cover them with paper to create a color or pattern that is more personal for gift giving. i think these would be perfect for giving homemade candy in during the holidays. if using to give food gifts i would recommend not painting the interiors and only using wrapped candy or food items.
i was reading Jillian's Shop Girl Tour on decor8 a while ago. i have always been attracted to old schools and industrial buildings that have been repurposed into living spaces and studios, retail shops and retreats.
i decided to check out Jillian's blog to see if there were other similar spaces she may have featured.
i got totally side tracked by her gorgeous food photography and recipes that i soon forgot why i had clicked over in the first place. but quickly came up with a new reason to stay.
fig, pecan + white chocolate cookies
i paused at this cookie recipe and with a recently acquired bag of dried figs i had everything on hand to start baking.
a warm + quiet evening, i propped the back door open to let a slight breeze inside to counter the heat from the oven and at the same time to savor the last of the day's light.
simplest days are the best days.
FYI: these freeze really well + are rather enjoyable eaten cold...
a lot of people make their own torn cotton ribbon, so this is not new. this is a photo of my latest 'batch' and a few tips. no rocket science happening here this early Monday morning.
if your fabric is not too wrinkly to begin with once the cotton strips start over lapping on the spool the fabric will naturally flatten out. and a little wrinkle here and there only adds to the casual charm of the ribbon.
the first time i ever made fabric ribbon--i ironed all of the strips before winding them on the spool*. i've since skipped that step.
scour the thrift store for cottons.
when fabric is between 75 cents and a $1.50 a yard i don't feel so "attached" and it makes it easier to rip the fabric up. i also try to find cotton fabric in at least 2 yard lengths since i do not sew the strips together (some people do. i'm not one of those people).
this way you will have a nice wrapping length to work with for your gift packages or hand-tied bouquets.
if you are drawn to a certain color, but the fabric is a bit hideous, go for it! often once the cotton fabric is torn into strips, it will become much more appealing.
do not over-look the cotton sheets in the thrift store bedding department--even the pillow cases have potential when cut open into a larger piece of fabric, then torn.
did you find some fabric or sheeting only to find a stain somehwere on it? rip your strips and discard the stain portion of the affected strips, by cutting around the stain and creating shorter strips-you can also stitch these shorter strips together.
if your fabric is indeed extremely wrinkly--iron the piece before you start tearing your strips. not after*.
if you happen to have access to a thrift store that receives lots of cotton saris (luckily, i do) these make gorgeous ribbons
keep an eye out for smaller size prints and designs on fabric as these work particularly well for ribbons
for me the perfect autumn meal is a steaming bowl of soup or chili with a nice slice of homemade bread or biscuit alongside. there is something very comforting about this combination especially when the chill starts to creep in.
this squash chili is one of my favorite one pot dishes. one bowl usually satisfies and i freeze the rest to enjoy at a later time. stir up a batch of biscuits and you have a super quick and easy to make meal--ready in under an hour.
be sure and check your squash for doneness after the suggested cooking time--depending on the squash you use you may need to cook for a bit longer. i usually use butternut squash, but i have also used delicata and acorn. i use whatever beans i have on hand and red or yellow peppers. if i have fresh corn i slice it off the cob and add it during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
this has a nice heat to it--not mild, but not too hot. easy to adjust.
Fiery Squash Chili
-adapted from Chatelaine Magazine/ January 2008
28oz (796ml) can diced tomatoes
398ml can tomato sauce
1 TBSP (15ml) chili pwder
1 tsp (5ml) each cinnamon + dried oregano
1/2 tsp (2ml) each cayenne + allspice
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups (1L) peeled, coarsely chopped squash
2 yellow or green peppers, chopped
19oz (540ml) can black beans, rinsed + drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a large, wide saucepan, stir diced tomatoes with tomato sauce, spices and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir in squash. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 30 mins. Stir in peppers, beans amd frozen corn. Boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until peppers are soft, 10 to 15 minutes more. Stir in cilantro and serve with sour cream if desired. a tbsp of goat cheese on top is a nice option instead of sour cream.
Nutrients per cup (250ml) 6g protein, 1g fat, 28g carbs, 7g fibre, 130 calories.