Living The Sweet Life: 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pretending To Be Julia

If you follow this blog you know of my fondness for the amazing Julia Child and all things French.  It's not everyday I have a dead bird to cook so  I just couldn't help but strike Julia's famous pose....



It was shortly after this display of cockiness that the bird slipped out of the roasting pan while I was stuffing it and ended up on the floor.  We laughed and laughed - and what else could I say but a spirited ...

"Bon Appetit!"

Note to self - when making stuffing, the salt is not equal to the same amounts of sage and poultry seasoning!
Second note to self - there is no handy cooking tip to get the extra salt out of the stuffing

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sewing Basket Cake


This cake won first prize at the NC State Fair for cake decorating.
I plan to do one just like it in my spare time in about 10 years.

Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies



These are really fun and easy to make. I've made them for Christmas and Valentines. Keep your eyes peeled at Michael's Craft store for the cute little Chinese food take out boxes.


All you need is chocolate melts, I use the milk chocolate ones. Some fortune cookies and some chocolate sprinkles.  Just click the read more link below this sentence to see more steps ....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Canada Corn Starch Grandma's ShortBread

Well it's finally happened, something Canadian that isn't related to Eskimo's or Curling. Great eh? I'm Canadian and I'm proud of our Corn Starch.

So Spencer is baking again and he has pretty much perfected his shortbread cookies.

So here is the recipe right off of our Canada Corn Starch box. We used bulk cornstarch today because the store was out of our usual and they turned out just as great. So don't worry, I'm sure your American corn starch will do just the same. There's no secret ingredient or anything.


Click on the recipe, and a new window will open so you can print it out.


He used half a red cherry, then 1/4 of a green cherry cut in half again for the leaves. He made sure to dry the cherries so they didn't bleed down the sides of the cookies.


Pop them in the oven. He had to cook his longer than recommended by about 5 minutes but that could be our oven so watch for them to be a little brown along the bottom edges.


Perfection and they are so so SO good.

Update December 2010 - A friend of mine said shortbread was wonderful with unsalted butter.  I made these cookies with unsalted and they were blan - almost unedible, compared to what we were used to.  I wouldn't change a thing on this recipe, it's melt in your mouth perfection.  Deb

If you like these cookies, you might also like my chocolate dipped fortune cookies, or the Mr Christie Mint Chocolat log.  They're both under the Dec 2009 link on the right.

Subscribe to this blog - the baking is about to begin and I'll keep you updated!
I'm going to share the Original Reeses Peanut Butter Chip Cookies Recipe - I have the original label it's 25 years old!

Magical Reindeer Dust

It's time to make a batch of Magical Reindeer Dust so Santa can find your house! This is a cute tradition that started when Spencer was little. On Christmas Eve, just before bed, the kids sprinkle the dust on the lawn so that the Reindeer will smell the oats and the glitter will sparkle in the moonlight to guide them to you house. It wasn't long after we sprinkled that we would hear "clatter" on the roof top!

Recipe:
1 Cup of Quick Oats
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Cup of Glitter
1/4 Cup Paper Confetti or Confetti Baking Sprinkles

Mix it all together and put about 1/2 cup in each bag. Just divide it up by the kids you have so there's enough for each. You can slip the tag into the bag, or attach it by a ribbon to a bag - whatever is cutest is always the way to go! The amounts are estimates, the Reindeer will eat whatever you put in those bags. It's the magic of the tradition that is most important.



The tag attached to the Magical Reindeer Dust says:

Sprinkle this reindeer dust on the lawn before bed on Christmas Eve night.
The moon will make it sparkle bright.
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam.
This will guide them to your home.

You can get my PDF for my cute little tags here.


You just can't go wrong with a crystal bowl full of Reindeer Dust
It's simply magical.


You're never too old.....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yoga On The Beach

At the end of yoga practice you rest, it's called Savasana or corpse pose. It's a time to relax and rejuvenate the mind and body. Often times you listen to soft music but my favourite is when the sounds are of the beach - the waves rolling in almost put you to sleep. In my world, on my yoga mat this is my version of "the beach".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Make Sweet Gift Boxes

Wow, this is what I call a great kiss! A vintage Hershey's Kisses box. My question is why would they not continue to have them in boxes just like these? So sweet and pretty.

I found a wonderful page for making homemade gift boxes - you print them, cut them and glue them. I think they're awesome. Check out Don't Eat The Paste - you will love the selection for all occasions.

Vintage Valentine Chocolate Box
I don't even want the chocolate, the box is perfect.

(Lovely images found on Google Images)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr Christie Chocolate Mint Log

Am I the last one to know about this wonderful dessert? The recipe is on the box of Mr. Christie's Chocolate cookies. There is also a version of it over at Martha's that I like better. If you want a quick fancy dessert without a bunch of creaming, whipping, folding and messing around half the day in the kitchen - this one is a keeper! My Mom never made this but it must have been around - you can't miss it on the front of that box. I bet my American friends are going to write and say they grew up on this and wonder what kind of mothering is going on up here in Canada. Maybe we just recently imported Mr Christie - I'm pretty sure he's American.

I used the recipe from Martha Stewart's site for this instead of the instructions on the box. The main difference is that we that is Martha and I, use whipping cream, sweetened with sugar and mint flavouring to ice the cookies, where as the folks over at Mr. Christie's use cool whip. So you can get the recipe here and print it out. I didn't put the miniature chocolate chips on top like Martha did and chose to use festive confetti instead.

This is what the box of cookies looks like. Check them when you buy them that they're not cracked or broken because they are very thin. Just follow Martha's instructions - they're a little long winded with saran wrap this and parchment paper that but in a nut shell all you do is carefully ice one thin cookie at a time and pile them in stacks of 6. When you're ready you lay the stacks down on a platter and ice them together. Ice the whole thing with the whip cream, decorate the top and refrigerate for four hours or up to two days. The cookies absorb the moisture and puff up. Cut the log on the diagonal to get the fancy effect shown.

Update: December 24th


I managed to make the log into a Yule log with a little branch sticking out - I cut some of the cookies in half the closer I got to the main log and filled everything in with whipping cream. On the top of this one I put chocolate shavings. Um um good.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Popcorn Garland Sewing Tips

This is the Christmas tree in our living room. It's theme is "Little Boy". Multi coloured lights, wooden and glass ornaments all in primary colours. The boys have gotten ornaments every year since they were little and especially love the glass ones like the Grinch. I get all the girly pink stuff out of my system on the other tree - this the main tree has always been for "the boys".

There is real popcorn strung on the tree. I used to string it every year but I figured out that if you put it into a large zip lock bag and pack it away carefully you can use it over. The secret of stringing popcorn is to pop it then let it get stale overnight in a paper bag, that way it won't split on the needle when you sew it. Also use a double strand of button hole twist, or a heavier thread, so it doesn't cut the corn. So there's your little sewing tip for the day - so get popping! Trust me once you've had a tree with popcorn garland, it's won't be the same without it. I love it and it is old fashioned so it's right up my alley. Of course I don't tell anyone I use it over and over, I let them think I'm so orgainzied that I sit there for three days in front of the fire listening to Christmas music and string.

Goofy from Taylor's first trip to Disneyland has been
on the top for 24 years.

On the mantel are more twinkle lights, but my
favourite are the little gingerbread guys. The nutcracker tradition started when I took Taylor (24) to the Nutcracker Ballet in Vancouver, he got his first one at intermission - you can see it above in red. He was only about five.

Isn't the gingerbread dude the cutest? I'm crossing my fingers that these guys never burn out because they have long bulbs in there that I've never seen before. That would be bad.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Twinkle Lights

I love twinkle lights, especially the clear ones. You just can't have too many all year round. I overheard a lady in Starbucks yesterday say that she was afraid to take her Christmas tree out of the box and plug it in because the lights might not work. That thought had already crossed my mind about fifty times because it happens to me every year. It would probably help if I took the lights off each year rather than fold that tree up like an umbrella, lights and all and stuff it into the box. One little light loose, in one little socket, and it's all over.

As positive as my thoughts were that I was sending out to the universe for this light deal to go my way, I plugged that tree in, and the inevitable happened - no lights. I thought to myself in that instant, I want to kill the guy that invented these lights - I hope it's not one of my customer's husbands. As I was pulling the dead lights off the tree, planning my trip to Canadian Tire for more - that I knew wouldn't match, I thought I am going to search that guy out. My next thought was, in this day and age there must be some sort of technology to fix these lights - or some sort of breaker or warning system to alert us as to which of the 200 lights is the problem. It was an exercise in patience because there is no guy, and you won't find the bulb....you just have to start over.


For my pussy willows outside my front door, I specifically bought twinkle lights that said the string would keep lit even if one bulb burnt out - I thought finally, yahoo it's about time. Yeah, well guess what - about 25 lights burnt out in a row. I haven't even attempted to fix the problem, every time I drive in I just think how pathetic they look. I'll buy more, I always do - and I'll hold out hope that somewhere, somehow, someone will figure a way to keep them lit.

Adorable photo's from littleroomla.blogspot.com

My pussy willows in all their glory or lack of it. What can I say? It's next on my list.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gingerbread House Night

I'm not sure what was so funny...

"The Kids" with their finished Gingerbread Houses. My boys have done them for years and years but it was Tanya's first time and she really loved it. It was cute to hear my oldest tell her how to use a pastry bag and explaining how the pressure is everything. What fun! The holiday season is officially underway!


Tanya picking all the blue stars out of the sprinkles with
tweezers. That's just like something I would do. Her plan
was a blue and silver theme. So cute.


Taylor did a roof with almonds, but we thought the cutest part
was the penguins he picked up from 7-11


We're still not sure how Spencer got that candy pole to stand on end
with a candy on top, but he did.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pink Christmas Tree


This is the pink tree I have in my kitchen.I decorate the mantel with a garland to match. I use lots of pink and silver glass balls and pink ribbons. I love the clear iceicles and pink glass light bulbs, both from Walmart I think. I just keep buying and adding as I see things that will look cute. I got the sweet wooden gingerbread boys hanging from the mantel years ago at a local craft fair. You can click on any of the pictures for a really close up view. That would be our kitty "Missy" trying to pull the whole thing down.



A close up of the the little Gingerbread Boy and
the Walmart Glass Light Bulbs



Another close up of the iceicles, ballet slippers,
pearly beads and old fashioned photo.

Beautiful Girly Art



This wonderful picture is by the amazing Janet Hill.   I love, love LOVE her work. It's everything girly and lovely. You can buy a large selection of prints or the occasional original in her Etsy store.  Janet’s work ranges from portraits of women, to portraits of objects, food, and interiors.  She explores the magic and the beauty in everyday life.

You can see her extensive Portfolio here
 
Oh and you can thank me later.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lovely Hosiery 101

With all the pin ups you see on this blog it will probably come as no surprise that I love girlie lingerie. I can't help myself from following the luxury lingerie blogs. There is a great article over at Fru Fru Fashionista - called A Brief Lesson in Hosiery. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

You have to wonder where they get girls with legs like these to model the nylons - you'll see what I mean. They have got to be stretching them out in Photoshop.


A Vintage Ad for A Canadian Hosiery Mill.
 "The sheerest, most exciting hosiery available to Canadian Women".

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grandma Irene Justice Heirloom Dress

Oh to be a little girl in the 1900's...


This is Grandma Irene Justice's little heirloom dress.  I got this the same day she gave me her christening gown and Grandpa Clive's christening gown.  Little dresses like this make me want a little girl.  It's a very basic square yolk dress made out of batiste, not the greatest quality - but it's still here after all these years so it held up well.

If you click on the pictures a new window will open and you can get a good close up look at them.


On the back there are twill tape ties to close the dress and one mother of pearl button you can't quite see at the bottom of the yolk. All the lace on the dress if cotton and made in France.


The sleeve detail shows lots of lace and pretty layers. Notice that there is lace edging on the edge of the collar and sleeve, you can also see some insertion and then the flounce of Swiss edge under the collar.

I"ll be posting pictures of my Mom's christening gown collection in the next while.  I tried to take pictures of them at her place but couldn't get any good shots.  She told me to take them home (I know I was surprised too).  I couldn't get out of there fast enough with them.  In fact I think she might have forgotten that I have them.  Anyways the deal was I have to iron all of them so as I get them ironed, you will get to see them.

Hanky Doll Card

This is a sweet thank-you note that was sent to me by one of our customers. It's a hanky doll card. She was sent in a lovely handmade envelope with scalloped edges.

I always use hankies. I love them because they're old fashioned and dainty. With the flu that's going around these days I thought it might be nice to pass this along to you so you can pass some hankies along to your girlfriends.

You can print her out on card stock, cut her out and then attach the hankie of your choice and give her away. You could call her the H1N1 Hankie Girl and give her with a travel size bottle of Purell - I'm kidding!



You can see on the second picture how the hankie was folded and pinned on the back nice and flat.

You can add a little note to the back of the card.

Here she is in her heirloom undies before you add the hankie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vintage Le Bon Marché Paris


This is a vintage ad from the Le Bon Marché
Department store in Paris in 1937

Le Bon Marché, "the good buy", or "the good deal" in French, is the name of one of the most famous department stores in Paris, France.  It was founded as a small shop in the early 19th century.  By about 1865 it had become the world’s first true department store.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Louis Vuitton Made In Paris

It was going to have to come up sooner or later. Everyone has their weakness.  I've done a little research and found the location of the Louis Vuitton in Paris. It's one thing to have a LV, it's another to have one from the flagship store.

Anyways, this all started with my Mom's red leather purse. I loved that purse, I must have been about 13. She always carried great handbags and like mother like daughter it's in my DNA, so I can't help it. If your interested in designer handbags you might like to join the Purse Forum Blog.  So back to my mission, I've got my map and I've got a plan.

The turn by turn directions, were a little lengthy from Canada.

2, Rue Pont Neuf
75001 Paris, France
Monday - Saturday
10 am - 8 pm


I'm a new fan of Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. I never really paid much attention to those guys because I thought Mick Jagger was kinda creepy. I saw The Rolling Stones at the Imax and that changed everything. Mick is ok, but Keith Richards oh my, he's the ultimate bad boy and cool to the bone. Needless to say when I saw the ad campaign LV did with him I really loved it.

There he is, looking almost dead having a cup
of tea on this LV guitar case.
So then, a click here and a click there, my heart almost stopped....

It's the one and only Mr Handsome, Sean Connery, pretending to be a rogue on some deserted island, oh my god I can't breathe.

Here I am pretending to be their new poster girl.
This would be the last one .... the Speedy 30
I would never go to their web site again, ever....
except to look at the matching wallet.