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Workshops and My Shop News

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

My May workshops are all booked and, once, they are done, I'm closing up for the summer. However, I suddenly discovered - drum roll, please! - candle making! A friend gave a candlemaking kit last Christmas and I never got around to doing anything with it. That is, until last weekend. It was raining and I was bored. My TV is on the blink (good job, too, as I had no idea how much time I wasted watching someone else's creations!! - more about that later. Having read my last book from the library, I decided why not try candle making.

Being the klutz I am, I was afraid I might set the house on fire but it turned out to be easier than I thought. So, of course, I made tons and gave quite a few away to family and friends to try out. And the response was so good that I've decided to flog them in MY SHOP.


What makes my candles so different, you ask? Well, for one, they are hand-poured, organic and fairly reasonable, cost-wise, (actually that's three reasons!). You can choose the container(s) you want - I plan on scouring the charity shops, flea markets and garage sales for unusual containers and will post these separately. As well you will be able to choose the scent. Right now only essential oils of lavender, cinnamon, and rosemary are available, but I'm working on adding essential oils of rose, chocolate, rosemary, and thyme. Once you have made your purchase, the candles will be hand-poured after you and then sent off to you in a pretty box. 

Anyway, let me know what you think of my latest idea - this grannie needs to make some dollars. As well as the candles, I will also be flogging my vintage goods. Stay tuned ...

DIY Mother's Day

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Eh gads and zuts alor! - it's Thursday and I haven't posted anything for our Mother's Day. I hope you've been giving some thought to what you can make for your Mom. Your recycling bin, believe or not, is full of great possibilities for repurposing containers, etc. and to help you along, here are a few ideas for you.


These cards are so easy to do and all you will need are some junk mail, magazine, gardening catalog, etc, some brown paper (I used a brown paper grocery bag - but use what you have), thin cardboard (cereal box, etc) and a bit of ribbon (leftover from other occasions). If you are artistic, you would probably could draw flowers but as I'm not, I roughly clipped out pictures from a gardening catalog and glued these to some cardboard before cutting these out so they looked like flowers.

Here's what I did: I cut two pieces of brown paper in the shape of a flower pot - one for the back and one for the front. Fold the top of each part over so it looks like a flower pot, then glue these two together at the bottom and sides, leaving the top wider part open. Then I cut a cardboard insert in the same shape but slightly smaller and glued the flowers to this. Then I inserted the flowers into the pot, glued on a ribbon tied into a bow in front and voila a nice Mom's day card was born!


If your Mom loves cake but you don't have the time or inclination (or like me, no ability) to bake one yourself, head for your grocery store and buy a plain iced cake. When you bring the cake home, style it up with a couple of flowers (fake or real) and some butterflies cut out of magazine pages. Stick the whole thing on a pretty plate and wait for the compliments.

Click here for a butterfly template.


You don't have to break the bank to present a nice bouquet of flowers to Mom. Heck, you can raid your garden and clip a few from there. Grocery store flowers aren't too expensive and you can separate the flowers to make a couple of bouquets. To make the cone, use gift wrap or scrapbooking paper if you have it. Or you're a little artist, why not make a nice drawing on plain paper and use this as the cone wrap. Here's a template for you.

Before sticking the flowers into your vase cone, insert the flowers into a plastic sandwich bag so water doesn't seep out. You want them to stay fresh for at least a couple of days, no?


Bath bombs are so easy to make that I wondered why I hadn't attempted these before. But I couldn't think of a way of packaging mine until I raided my recycling bin. Fortunately, I had used those plastic eggshells from Easter to make the bath bombs so it was a no brainer to use the egg cartons that I found in the bin.

For a bath bomb how to, click here.


If Mom's a whiz in the kitchen why not raid her bakeware and see if you can find a few spare pie plates or tart pans to create some kitchen wall art for her. Write or print out some of her favourite baking recipes and cut out to fit inside the plates or pans, use double-sided tape to hold the recipes in place and hang the how thing up. Several would look spectacular.

I found the ones shown here.


Okay, we've got cards, cake, flowers and some wall art for Mom. I think she'll be pleased and you haven't emptied your wallet completely and even did some good for the environment, too!

May Workshops - Recycling All the Way!

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

UPDATE - All Workshops have sold out. Look for our June Workshops coming soon.

My May Workshops have been posted and I'm looking forward to showing participants what they can do just be recycling! All my projects are easy-peasy, low-cost, and fun to boot.

We'll be making cakes, cake stands, woodland critters and even a portable urban garden. If you are in the Ottawa area, why not join us for two hours of fun in the making - and bonus, you walk away with a completed project. Most materials are provided and kids are welcome.

Can't make it on the day? No problem, contact me and we can arrange something.



Earth Day

Posted on April 22, 2017 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

As I dash off to my morning workshop, here's something I did last night and will present to each of our workshop participants - a soy wax candle in discarded vintage patisserie moulds. These moulds are really tiny - less than 1/2 inch high, but because of the wax I used and the wick (low smoke, cotton soy waxed), it actually goes for over 6 hours! Pretty good, for a little thing - and that's the point.

Why a candle? Well, it's to remind us that we are constantly losing so much of our planet Earth - species are disappearing, forests and fields are desecrated, our air and water is polluted as is the food we consume; all, by the way, in the name of consumerism. We are hurtling through space on the ONLY home we have and we treat it like a garbage dump. We have to have more, more and more no matter what the cost. Someone else will take care of it, right? NO - it's up to each on of us to take on the responsibility of caring for our planet.

Sorry, I just get so riled up and sometimes find it hard to contain myself. Hope you have a thoughtful day and start something that will start to heal our world - even if it's just in a small way. Every little helps ...

Earth Day Recycling Fun

Posted on April 21, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If you think the whole of idea of recycling is too much work and no fun, you may want to think again. Take a lesson from kids, for example. When my daughter was little, she often preferred the box that her gift came in to the gift itself. Something we should all consider because it's often the little things actually make the difference and each one of us can at least consider that one little thing we can do each day and even have a little fun in the process.

Since I'm holding workshops on the day (with a little help), we had an early Earth Day at our place. We all scoured the cupboards and closets and the recycling bin for stuff and challenged each other to recycle what we found in fun (and useful) ways. We unearthed (no pun intended) old paperback books, unused glass ware, loo rolls, drinking straws washed and saved from smoothies and lattes, twist tops from milk and juice cartons, and plastic milk jugs were some of our materials.

And here's what we did:

Balloon-powered Racers

Okay, we cheated a little here, the balloons are new. We did have fun racing these in our apartment building hallway!

Map Gift Wrap

All this from an old torn up map - envelopes, gift wrap, paper boat, map covered notebooks and pencils, even buttons. All perfect material for a party or for gift giving. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Sippy Pots from Mayo Jars


An unbreakable, non-spillable sippy jar from a PET mayonnaise jar. How to do it here.

Glassware Cake Stands

Unused glassware and plates merged into these cute little cake stands. Miss Piggy would approve.

Hanging Gardens

Kids really love this type of gardening - I think they like the idea of being able to move the plants around. Anyway, we did cheat a little here and used grocery store herbs instead of waiting for seeds to sprout. But it shows that anyone can have a garden no matter how small a place they've got.

Sprouting Eggs

You can start a garden in anything. These little sprouts can go directly into your garden or garden container. Just remember to crush the eggshell slightly so the roots can get out.

Hope your Earth Day is special and keep on recycling all year round.

Happy Easter

Posted on April 13, 2017 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I found a copy of Douglas Gayeton's book, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town, at a local church charity shop and just love it - the photographs and the story behind them. I think the cover (I removed the dust jacket) is an appropriate image for Easter. As symbols, eggs have many meanings: for Christians, eggs symbolize the resurrection of Christ; for kids, goodie treats; and for the rest of us, spring and new beginnings.

I also think eggs are the perfect food: you can prepare them in an infinite number of ways (where would I be without my morning soft-boiled egg and toasty soldiers) in baking and cooking. Eggs are also used cosmetically, for examples, in facials and for healthy hair growth. And THEN, you can repurpose the shells in hundreds of ways in crafts (crafters can use crushed eggshells as tiny mosiacs for decorations), the kitchen, garden, etc., as well. Perfect, indeed.

Gayeton is a filmmaker who began recording foodway traditions in the Tuscan town of Pistoia, Italy for a project he was doing with PBS. While most Pistorians had never heard of the slow food movement, Gayeton realized that they were in fact exemplars of the movement's basic principles. So he focused his camera on his friends and neighbors, discovering many stories along the way and this book was the result.

To find out more about Gayeton and his work, go here and here