Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Every year I have good intentions of making one of my mother's favorite confections - Chocolate Covered Orange Peel.  Unfortunately, it never makes it on to my very long To Do lists, well except for this year of course.  To make things a little more exciting, I chose to make Christmas Candy instead of Christmas Cookies because, well, quite frankly, I am bored with making cookies.  I guess my stint at running an organic bakery kind of wore that novelty thin.  So I got busy with the chocolate last week, and I am still reeling from the sugar highs.  First there wast the Chocolate Covered Toffee which was very exciting to make because toffee is one of my favorite foods.  This toffee is so much easier to eat too because it is made with Brown Rice Syrup, so it's not sicky sweet.  Ok, so it is sicky sweet, but not deathly sicky sweet.  After gorging on that, I made a batch of Soule Mama's well loved Chocolate Peppermint Candy, well because she can't stop talking about it, so it must be pretty good.  Well, she's right, it is very good.  I made the mistake of trying to make a second batch using homemade white chocolate, which definitely isn't as good as store bought, so in case you have any inclination of doing this yourself as well, I don't recommend it.  
The grand finale was the chocolate covered orange peel which I adapted from this recipe and then dipped in melted dark organic chocolate (if you make this recipe, be sure to omit the sugaring before you dip!) 
Good thing I was making those for someone I really love, because quite honestly, they are a lot of work.  The whole time I kept thinking " Mom, you are so worth this, that is the only reason I am doing it!"  I really hope she enjoys them because a lot of love went into making them. 
 As I was scraping the extra pith off of each and ever piece of orange peel, I suddenly had a great idea that would make quick work of this grueling task.  How appropriate that my mother recently gave me an Alaskan Ulu the last time she came for a visit.  This very sharp blade is the perfect tool for scraping pith, or anything for that matter.  Maybe she had a premonition I would really need it one day to make her gifts!?
The orange and chocolate theme continued into today, Winter Solstice, when Faegan and I baked a birthday cake for the sun and used one of the leftover peeled oranges to make a sun for decoration.  Lovely and yummy.  Happy Solstice everyone!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I've been loving all these inspiring ideas for homemade Yule Tree ornaments:

Christmas Tree Ornament Set of Three Mini Merino Wool Felt Trees in Pink, Green and White with Vintage Buttons
(photo from Paper and Whimsy esty shop)
* 101 ways to reuse buttons - little christmas trees on this etsy shop were the inspiration for a similar craft, except I double sided the tree and stuffed it with wool roving, then sewed on multicoloured buttons

* Martha Stewart's button wreath made a great craft for my almost 4 year old who really enjoyed stringing them onto pipe cleaners all by himself
(photo from apron thrift girl website)
* lovely beeswax ornaments which I am inspired to make, perhaps this week
(photo from Arian Studio

* this sweet little toque ornament from Arian Armstrong's blog was too cute to resist making
Petunia star and bead ornaments
(photo from Petunia blog, but the link for directions on how to make appear to no longer connect!)
* these simple stars from Petunia were quite easy to make, but then I complicated matters by double siding them, stuffing them with roving, adding some beadwork, and then blanket stitching around the edges!
handmade pine cone gnome Christmas ornament
(photo from the Magic Onion blog)

* and as always, the Magic Onion blog had so many lovely craft ideas, but I couldn't resist making a couple of these Pinecone Gnomes

So aside from crafting my little heart out I've been loving:
* Dr. Hauschka body care, again
* Brie cheese on toast with pears
* hot chocolate
* spending time with family and friends today out in the sunshine cutting down our Yule tree, laughing, singing into the Santa-oki machine (and then going nuts when the kids wouldn't stop), feasting and then decorating.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Glad to be back on the old blog here sharing with you my current fascinations and obsessions.  We are full swing into the Solstice/Christmas preparations which is keeping us very busy around the homestead.  Yesterday we attended a really lovely gathering with the local Waldorf community to walk the Advent Spiral.  It was so nice to come together with such a loving group of people to prepare ourselves for the darkest night of the year.  
Advent has been the theme around here all week as Faegan and I gathered some spruce boughs and berries to make an Advent wreath to count down the days to Winter Solstice.  After much deliberaton I decided to start the countdown on December 1st and light one more candle each night until the 22nd.  That meant I needed candles, and lots of them.  Ever since I discovered the toxic nature of petroleum wax, I only burn beeswax.  Seeing as I needed 21 candles, I decided to make my own instead of spending $78 on votives.  Making candles is actually very easy once you have the right wicks and moulds.  I am going to make my own wicks one day and make candles from my very own beeswax (once we get bees) but until then I made them this way:

pure local beeswax
very small paper Dixie cups
pre tabbed candle wicks
hot glue

Method:  Melt the beeswax in the bowl of a double boiler (bain marie).  As you wait for it to melt, place a dab of glue onto the tabs of the wicks and press them into the dixie cups.  Steady the wicks with wooden clothespins to prevent them from moving off centre.  Pour melted wax into each cup. ( If you don't like the cracks that may form, simply pour more wax to fill in the gaps once they have hardened. ) Allow the wax to harden and then peel off the cups, being careful not to pull the wicks out when trying to remove the glued on tabs.

We just got back from a trip to Ontario to visit with family.  My mother so sweetly prepared for our visit by buying some bath toys for the boys to play with.  Being the very perceptive and understanding momma that she is, she shopped on Etsy and found a great shop that offers wooden floating bath toys in the shape of a whale, fish, boat, and turtle.  Way to go mom!  I am so delighted with these little toys that I went out and found a scroll saw on Kijijji and bought it so I can make some.  Well actually the main impetus for buying the saw was so I could make some farm animals for Faegan's Christmas present.  While we were away Scott made him a toy barn, and so now it is my job to make the animals to go with it.  I was out there today in the freezing cold workshop cutting them out.  They just need to be sanded and then I am going to pull out my handy woodburner to fill in the details.  I even made a beeswax wood polish for them today while I was making the candles.


1 part beeswax
4 parts jojoba oil

Method:   Melt together in a double boiler and then pour into containers.

So many tools......soo little time to play with them.