Cookies for all!

I was inspired to post because I came across an awesome looking pin, and through some digging I found out the pin was traceable back to an on-line newsletter from DVO.com, a company that sells a recipe organizational software... Wow, what a world we live in! I still prefer my hand written, flour covered papers.

Here’s the article:
http://www.dvo.com/newsletter/monthly/2010/november/tabletalk4.html

Note: I made mine without the benefit of this, because I rushed in full speed ahead, without researching where the image had actually come from.

TIME:
Making dough - 10 minutes
Chilling dough - 3-4 hours
Cutting out and baking and cooling cookies - 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME:
4 ½ hours

INGREDIENTS:

For the sugar cookies, I used the ‘rolled cookies’ recipe from my old standby Joy of Cooking

Cream:
½ cup butter
½ cup white or brown sugar (I used white, but I think they would have been better with Brown)
Add:
2 eggs
1 tbs vanilla (or any flavour extract of your choice)
1 ¾ cup of flour
1 tsp salt

Food Dye, I used liquid food dyes, and the colours came out distinctly pastel. Next time I think I will use gel or paste food colours to get those rich autumn tones.

EQUIPMENT:
Kitchen Aide Mixer
Separate bowls for mixing in the colours
Resilient arms

INSTRUCTIONS:

Make the cookie dough, just barely combining in the flour, as the dough will be get very mixed up when adding the food dye.

Separate the dough into four (Or however many colours you want, but I think 4 should be the max, otherwise it starts to look messy) parts.

Add the food dye to each part, the dough will get VERY soft and warm during this, and chilling the dough is a necessity.

Chill the dough in the fridge for 3-4 hours

Remove dough from the fridge, and let it soften a bit on the counter.

Preheat oven the 350C.

Do not roll out all the cough at once. Take a small (1-2 tbsp) portion of each colour of dough for each cookie. Roll it out flat, making sure the colours are all joined but not too mixed together. Use a lot of flour to make sure the dough doesn't stick to the counter, so you can just pick it up and roll it again, instead of having to scrape it off like I did (I ended up mixing the colours more and more together into a dull beige).
For each of the few cookies, roll out more of each colour.

I rolled my dough out to about 1/32 cm thickness.

Cut out whatever shape you like. I used little bears, because I didn’t have a leaf cookie cutter, but I think a leaf one would have been the best.

Place the cookies onto a pre greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on the cookies sheets.

REACTION:
I like them!

They would have been better if I had researched the pin instead of just guessing.
They would have been better with gel dye.
They would have been better if I had rolled out the dough in parts instead of all at once, resulting in a beige gray-ish mess by the end.

But at the end of the day, they were still seasonally themed sugar cookies, and they look really adorable! I am going to pull this little trick out for easter with my chick shaped cookie cutter, and some real pastel colours!


VERDICT: Pin-Win, but I think only for the recipe, not so much my execution of the colour sections.I’m eating some as I write this post. They are a seasonally themed food item, and now that I’ve worked out the kinks, my relatives can look forward to many more sugar cookies, all the colours of the rainbow (and maybe even some rainbow ones)!


          designing a life more delicious
                    Anna Felicity


Home is where the Heart is



Mounted VPD escort
On Sunday I watched the Seaforth Highlanders march out of their armoury and down 4th Ave to their new temporary home at the Jericho Garrison, aptly loved in Jericho.

The weather wasn't perfect, I'm guessing someone stepped in some horse poop at some point (left by the Mounted escort from the VPD, there was presumable no other horses on west 4th that.), there were hecklers, and the sound system wasn't turned on until half way through the speeches, but you couldn't hear them anyway because the fire trucks were lowering their hydrolically controlled ladders the whole time (Buuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, EeeeeeEEEEeeeeee, click into place, other truck, Buuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, EeeeeeEEEEeeeeee, click into place. Drive away very loudly.)



Flag over 4th

That being said, even though I’ve only had the privilege of the Seaforths company since last December (when I started volunteering with their musuem, helping them with their textile collection), I found it quite an emotional event.

The last time that flag would fly


Beside the fact that my Man was the lucky (read:cool, calm, and collected) soldier chosen to lower the Canadian Flag, and hand it off to a WWII veteran standing by (I think I was much more nervous than he was), it was an amazingly sombre moment. Seeing all the troops lined up on Burrard street facing the armoury, all I could think was, the last time they marched out in the fashion was in 1939, (and yes your knowledge of history is correct) to go to war.


Rob MacDonald (now retired from the Army, but still tirelessly devoting his free time to the Seaforth Museum), accepting the flag from the WWII veteran, so that it could be retired and put on display in the now dispersed museum at Jericho.

Standing on the grass, I was suddenly overcome with a greater appreciation for our army than I’ve felt before (and that’s saying something, considering almost every member of my family was either in, or has some connections with the army). Looking back now, a few days later, I can see the faces of my contemporaries, my friends, and even my Man, and I know, they have all volunteered, and there’s a possibility they could be called upon to serve their country, and I am only proud.
Moving down 4th Avenue, not an average Sunday sight

I watched them march up Burrard, and then (thankfully) got in my car and drove up the Jericho along Cornwall. I waited just past Alma and 4th, and caught a glimpse of the formidable sight coming down 4th, over the crest of hill. It was truly a sight to see.

The then marched on to the grounds at Jericho Garrison, where there were a few speeches (some as aforementioned, went unheard), but there was one that resonated well with the crowd.
Outside Jericho Brigade

Jim Short, the Seaforth Padre, and former area Padre, as well at the minister at my aunts church in Ladner (I live in a very small world) , gave a well worded speech with one very central and resonating theme. Home is where the heart is. 

The Seaforths are not a small unit, and they are taking over a space much, MUCH smaller that the space they previously enjoyed. That being said, with most people being (understandably) uncertain of their new surroundings, the phrase "Home is where the Heart is" rang true. There's is such heart among those people, that there is no question in my mind that Jericho could be a good home for them for a while, and the march back, I'm sure, is going to be even more epic.


The whole day was a rare thing to see, and I feel so happy that I know all those great people, and was able to see it happen.
Rob MacDonald accepting the flag

The drinks leading late into the night didn't hurt either ;) (Thanks Candace!)


The Seaforth Museum curator, Rob MacDonald, captured the days events well in a Facebook post:




A long but (bittersweet) good day. The parade went off without any visible hitch, the media turned-out in unprecedented number (I was interviewed by CBC Radio/TV, Global TV, CKNW Radio, God knows who else). 
The troops didn't visibly react to the 3 munters who called them 'babykillers' and 'murderers', nor to the three women who flashed their paps...but everyone gave a subtle eyes-right to the old lady who proudly held up a hand-lettered sign which read "My father was a Seaforth Highlander in 1939!"...







          designing a life of appriciation
                    Anna Felicity

Leave a lasting impression indeed!

I subscribe to a lot of on-line shops newletters, and trend setting sites. And I mean A LOT!

Shoes, home d├ęcor, clothing, art, jewellery, nail polish, beauty tips, exercise routines, recipes (both good for you and deliciously bad for you), life hacks, health, yoga, even a few tech newletters, costumes and even a few historical societies.

More often than not, I read the subject of the e-mail and decide not to look into it, but today ModCloth caught my eye!



**I really like ModCloth, because I find their sizing charts quite accurate, which is helpful for a bustier girl like me, and they have some great policies on returns. A friend of mine once ordered a coat, and even though they sent her completely the wrong coat, she sent them a message about it, and they replied: "Sorry about that, we'll send you the right jacket right now, please feel free to do whatever you want with the jacket. She gave it to me, free coat!!**

I clicked on the e-mail and this was the first thing I saw! How freaking gorgeous is that?!?

I clicked on the link for the site, and the next thing that caught my eye, inspired me into the mood to make more dresses for fall! My frugal side of course took over, and I'm going to check out the sale section tonight. I'll keep you apprised of my decisions....

I may just end up buying something today, as I'm in a buying mood for fall.

I bought boots yesterday, they arrived in the mail today. I can't wait to try them on tonight! Pictures to come.

Update: The pictures of the boots as promised

The adorable tag they came with

Love the unexpected red zipper!



          designing a life more fashionable
                    Anna Felicity

Create or die (or at the very least feel crappy)

Lately I've been feeling the desire to create.


It's always dangerous when I get into this state, because by the time I get around to sitting down with my glue gun, a little bit of glitter (okay a lot of glitter) and some kind of surface (be it fabric, paper or wall), the result is neither creative nor attractive.




It generally ends up looking like a dog ate a box of glitter, some pom-poms (where the fuck did those pom-poms come from?!) and a bird, and then projectile vomited it all up. My desire to create something beautiful and significant isn't satiated, and I have disgusting (albeit shiny) mess to clean up.


I have no doubt that my issue here is, in no small part, due to a lack of organization and appropriate inspiration, but here I remain, at a loss as to where to go next.

On my list right now is:


- A (creative) cork board (thanks Pinterest for ruining my ability to actually come up with my own unique and individual ideas)


- A man's shirt (I have the fabric, I have the book, and I even have the very oddly proportioned man (thanks Boy))


- Finish my winter coat (that I started 3 years ago, and never quite decided what I was going to do with the cuffs)

- Fix a particular dress that I have (It should be a simple fix, but it seems to be seriously eluding me)

- Make a bouquet of fabric flowers (No particular reason for this one, I've just been checking the out a lot on-line and they seem pretty cool. Plus Martha makes them seems so cool and clever, they really are a Good Thing!)

Thoughts? Suggestions?





I think I'll start with an old vintage/antique looking picture frame, and the multiple squares of cork I found yesterday, and go from there. This may go badly (yet again), but at least this time I some direction (and some glitter!).

Wish me luck! Pictures of successes and likely failures to follow

          designing a life full of creativity and GLITTER!
                    Anna Felicity

Tim Tam Slam!!!

Today I was introduced to something rather AMAZING!

I’d like to say I’m not one to over exaggerate things, but that’s a lie... I over exaggerate EVERYTHING! I do for good reason of course, and that's because most things in life are pretty amazing! 

I’d rather have a life of simple joys, rather than waiting for the big moments to sweep me off my feet. Every moment in life can be ‘foot-sweeping’.

Today I was introduced to the ‘Tim Tam Slam’! Well to be fair, today I was introduced to Tim Tams, and then the Tim Tam Slam.


No one ever foretold a coffee this large!
It barely fit in the cup holders, and covered most of the radio!


Tim Tam’s are these very tasty and delicious cookies from Australia. They are described as the most indulgent chocolate biscuit, and they are not far from the truth! They forgot delicious, decedent, crunchy, sweet, tasty and amazing!!!

The cookie alone is pretty damn good, and while we only made it back to the car before we ripped open the package and took a bite, we still had to get our coffee (or in my case tea).


We headed to Timmy’s (well we took a very long and awkward route to get to the Tim Hortons) but we made it eventually, and we both had a free coffee or latte coming our way from Roll-up!


I figured since we had free drinks coming out way we may as well get the biggest size we could!!


Comparison to the size of my head!! Oh my!


Apparently in the Tea lattes you can only go up to Large, and not their new size, extra large. I however, quickly problem solved and simultaneously confused the Tim Hortons employees. Make the Large, with the machine and my tea, pour it into an extra large cup and top it off with hot water. It took a little extra explaining and few eye-rolls from the customers in line behind me, but I think I got the whole 9 outta my free drink! Plus I got the large cup (with a roll up rim!) and the size I wanted! Who says you can’t have it all?




The best part of the whole procedure... I won a free doughnut! (annoyingly spelled ‘donut’ on the rim! Isn't Tim Hortons Canadian-ish?)














Back to the Tim Tam Slam!

The Procedure:

Bite off opposite corners of the Tim Tam like so:




With one end in the drink (coffee or tea) suck up the drink through the ‘Tim Tam straw’ through the other end of the cookie, thus saturating the inner cookie goodness with the drink. As soon as you can taste the drink, flip the cookie into your mouth and enjoy the joy.





It’s delicious, crunchy, gooey and life altering.

I (the self proclaimed diabetes causing baker) could only handle about three before I could feel the sugar shakes coming on, and had to stop.


I don’t think I’ll ever look at tea and cookies the same way again!


designing a life more delicious
Anna Felicity

Gluing my life (and fingers) together....

I've never been one to craft for every season, occasion, or event I come across. I’ve always been more of a ‘fly by the seat of my pants, create when the inspiration hits’ type.

Today those two things managed to find each other in the form of a lovely easter/springtime wreath.





The whole procedure actually started a few days ago, when I came across this lovely little idea from Alissa, via my new favourite site, Pinterest (seriously, get Pinterest!!!). I knew I really wanted to try these embroidery floss covered eggs, especially since a similar endeavour failed miserably (mostly because I used completely the wrong materials, but that’s a whole other story).

So off I went to the dollar store and I bought my supplies. I had a few of the items already at home, but I brought them all together to start this sticky wonderful mess:


Yes, that is a Whiskey/Soda in the background 
  • Water bomb balloons
  • Embroidery floss
  • Fabric Stiffener - I use Stiffy Fabric Stiffener, and yes it is a hilarious name!
  • White Glue
  • Vasaline - or any Petroleum Jelly of course
  • A paint brush
  • A plastic cup
  • Pins
  • Cork or styrofoam (or something to stick the pins in)
  • Wax paper

I (of course) prepared my work area, had the wax paper over the cork (my cork placemats), and mixed my glue and fabric stiffener together in my plastic cup.

The mixture is about ⅔ glue, ⅓ fabric stiffener. It should be just a bit thicker than cream. 
Vaseline covered balloons... Mmm

Blow up the balloons, and tie them off. I made them all different sizes because I figured there was no way I’d get them all the same size, and that would piss me off more.

I pinned the balloons to the cork board through the wax paper, and obviously through the end of the balloons. Well okay one I screwed up and popped the balloon accidently, right next to my dogs face.

Next I cleaned up after my dog and his weak bladder.

Coat the balloons in Vaseline, and as with most uses of vaseline, you can’t really use too much, can you?



Once all your balloons are prepared, unwrap the embroidery floss (and I strongly suggest you unwrap it first, since there’s no guarantee the floss isn’t already a little knotted, and knotted gluey thread isn’t fun for anyone.)


Dip the floss in the glue mixture and use the paintbrush to push it in.

Don’t dip it all in! HOLD ONTO THE END! Trust me, if you lose the end, give up then. Life and this craft are not worth finishing if you lose the end!

To serious? Sorry, Okay... life is worth it, and the whole craft is probably gonna make it, but give up hope of keeping that particular floss colour. It’s lost forever... just let it go.


Pull the floss out of the glue mixture and squish out the majority of the glue off the thread. Don’t hold onto it like your life depended on it... Give it more of a loving feel... It’s delicate, don’t hurts its feelings. You want there to be some glue left on the floss.

The rest is pretty easy. Wrap the balloons. Go any way you want! You can have patterns, but as you saw I chose the somewhat more insane look. Think schizophrenic cat with a ball of gluey yarn!


I let the ‘eggs’ dry for at least 12 hours, over night and I made sure to rotate them in the morning, about a half hour before I popped the balloons. Pop them with the pins and then you see your real results.
Some of the balloons still have a bit of ‘spring in their step’ and pop with authority, and others collapsed in a creepy slowly dying kinda way. It was disturbing.




The finished ‘eggs’ are really great, and I found they could be easily used in a centre piece or random decoration for spring.












I of course knew my work was not yet done, and I had more to do. 

I covered a wreath frame in strips of light green felt (1½” x 3½”), layering them around the wreath. I hot glued them on, my favourite technique, and I actually put into use an awesome lifehack I saw the other day.


This particular tip said to put Vaseline on the tip of your hot glue gun to prevent the long strings of glue. Since I already had the Vaseline right there, I figured why not. It actually works quite well. Since my trusty glue gun has been with me for many a year already, I still had a few stringy bits, but I figure on a new (or cleaner) glue gun, it would work quite well.


After the frame was covered, all that was left to do was artfully place the eggs on the wreath and glue them in place. I held the eggs in place while the glue cooled and solidified, to make sure they were in exactly the place I wanted. No eggs outta place on my watch! I also glued the eggs to each other for added stability.

Here’s the finished result, and I love it!



So spring-y and bright! It can also doubles as a table centerpiece with a pillar candle.

I'd love to see your endeavors, and hear your comments about mishaps with glue! I have a few eggs left over, so be sure to check back and see what else I come up with.


Happy Crafting!


       designing a life covering glue, that makes me smile
                   Anna Felicity

Carpet Cleaning... bliss?

I love my dogs, Harold and Kumar, and while they have comical and endearing names, what they left for me on the carpet this morning was neither comical nor endearing. My semi-conscious ‘dance’ to avoid stepping in dog puke was probably hilarious to the outside observer, but ended in my hitting the wall, tripping, and stepping in yet another ‘doggie present’.
Harold the Brave
Normally this would have been like any other Tuesday morning, I clean my foot off, clean the mess up, scrub away at the carpet in a vain attempt to get it back to its previous pristine self, and I move on with my day, but today, I realized was not a normal Tuesday.

Today was the first day in about a week that I've woken up with clear nasal passages, and apparently I haven't been able to smell anything for a week.

Kumar the Coward

This morning I could smell, and I wasn’t exactly greeted with the scent of roses and freshly baked bread.

Problem: Smell coming from downstairs carpet, that is beginning to permeate to the rest of the house. Anyone who knows me, or the house I live in, knows this humble abode came with more than a few problems, not the least of which was the fact that the previous owner was a well-to-do, but terrible handy-man, who made rookie mistakes, and dangerous repairs!

Final Solution: The Rug Doctor!!

This of course wasn’t my first solution, because my inner thrift queen always tries to come up with the best at home, cost free solutions.

While this homemade fabric refresher worked wonders when I forgot a whole load of laundry in the machine, and it ended up smelling like mildew it’s just not strong enough to combat the odor making skills of my dogs digestive tracts.

Second Attempt: Baking Soda Scrub
The technique is simple, albeit time consuming and not as easy as spraying some mist over the culprit carpet. It simply involves sprinkling baking soda on the carpet, scrubbing it in on the tough and particularly smelly bits, leaving it for about 15 minutes and then vacuuming it up. While this worked for some of the smell it does little to remove the stains, and also involves kneeling on the carpet, not ideal.
Tips: Wear clothes you don’t care about as you'll be down on your hands and knees scrubbing away. I also suggest you wear some kind of eye protection, because as you scrub at the mess with the bristled brush, the baking soda starts to clump together, and it has a tendency to flick back up. I believe the scrubbing technique is all in the wrist, and I have yet to master it. I manage to ‘aim’ those little clumps of powder and urine straight towards my face.
Before
Third attempt: Screw this at home stuff, I need professional help!!
After



While I’d never go so far as to hire someone to do work I can do myself, I am in this case referring to the professional help of an industrial strength, carpet cleaning wet vacuum, ie. the Rolls Royce of vacuums. The Rug Doctor, easily rentable at most Safeways or Home Hardwares, comes with all the bells and whistles, provides some deep carpet cleaning wonder, exudes luxury (in the most vaccumy-envy sense of the word), but can still be operated by a newbie like me.
There are three main types of carpet cleaner available for rental of purchase:
  • Upright extractors – These are by far the most common carpet cleaning machines for home use. They involve the use of a clean water reservoir and a gray water reservoir. Clean water and soap are sprayed onto a carpet and then extracted back into the machine.
  • Steam machines – Carpet cleaning machines that profess to be steam models for home use generally do not operate at quite the right temperature to produce steam. Instead, they rely on the use of hot water to help loosen and lift dirt and debris.
  • Hand-held devices – This type of carpet cleaning machine is a portable version of a larger model. *


Before



Today I felt I needed the big guns, and rented the Upright Extractor from my local Home Building Centre.
After


It cost about $45 CDN to rent the machine for 24 hours, and that included the name brand carpet cleaning soap that comes from the same company, Rug Doctor. If you’re cleaning carpet, there’s no need to get the anti-foam, that’s only needed if you’re using the machine to clean upholstery.

Tips:
  • When they say move slow, they mean move slow.
  • Hold onto the handle with both hands, because when the spay is going and the brush is spinning the whole things buzzes, and it really started to hurt my wrist when I was holding it with just one hand.
  • Go from the outside edges of the room toward the middle
  • When you move the furniture back you MUST put tin-foil under the legs of the furniture because it can stain under the the legs where the carpet is still wet, and those stains are SERIOUSLY difficult to remove!
  • The machine MUST be grounded, so make sure you have it in a three pronged plug! 




Other than my little bits of advice, and hilarious antics while trying to do things around my home, it is amazingly satisfying to see the stains cleaned right before your eyes!!!






         designing a life that is clean and stain free
                   Anna Felicity


*Information from: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/carpet-cleaning-machines