August 22, 2009

Mouse Cat Toy

This is a cute crochet mouse toy filled with catnip. It is a quick project and great for beginners. The stitch is tight so it is hard for cats to rip apart (at least mine hasn't so far!). I used Vanna's Choice yarn and a size G/6 hook. The pattern can be found here (you might have to register to get the pattern but its free and there are lots of other great patterns there too). This is a good pattern to start with if you are just starting with crochet amigurumi. Give it a try!

August 18, 2009

Tropical Salsa

Tropical salsa is a great summer recipe that captures the sweet and fresh flavours of summer. This salsa is quick and super delicious on tortilla chips, chicken, and white fish. The cilantro gives it a fresh taste, while the mango and pineapple provide sweetness. I grew yellow tomatoes this year and used them in this salsa along with red ones and it tastes great. You can eat this salsa warm or cool. Once cooled, it keeps well in the fridge for about two weeks. It can also be canned so you can enjoy it all year.

  • 6 Medium Tomatoes
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 3/4 Mango (frozen or fresh)
  • 185 mL Pineapple
  • 15-20 mL Fresh Cilantro (5 mL dried, only if you can't use fresh)
  • 1 1/2 mL Salt
  • 2-3 mL Chili Flakes
  • 3/4 mL Cumin
  • 15 mL Lime Juice
  • 30 mL Cider Vinegar
Chop and seed the tomatoes. Chop onion, pineapple, mango, and cilantro; mince garlic. Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes. The salsa can then be canned (makes about 3 jars), served warm or cool.

This recipe is easily doubled and can be made as spicy or not spicy as you want by adjusting the amount of chili flakes. This is sure to become a favourite!

August 08, 2009

Fondant Covered Cake

For my boyfriend's 21st birthday I attempted doing a cake covered in fondant and am happy to report that it was a success! The cake is a simple chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting between the two layers and as the crumb coat. I froze the two layers of cake as it helps to keep the crumbs on the cake instead of in your frosting. Thaw the cake then cover with a crumb coat (I used buttercream icing but you can also use jelly or jam). I used a pre-made fondant from a local cake decorating store which I coloured using gel food colouring from Wilton. I would not recommend the Wilton fondant because it doesn't taste very good. The tool box and tools are made from molded chocolate.

If you have not worked with fondant before, is a good resource for steps on working with fondant. A good place to start working with fondant is to make smaller embellishments for your cake so that you can get used to rolling, cutting, and colouring. Good luck and have fun!

August 06, 2009

Grape Juice Jelly

There is nothing yummier than jelly on a scone. I found a simple recipe for grape juice jelly that only has three ingredients. If you are a beginner at jam/jelly making you should try this recipe it is very simple. Get the recipe and follow these instructions and process your jelly if you plan on storing it for a while. I also made this jelly with cranberry juice. It is a nice sweet and light jelly that goes great on toast, in a sandwich, and even over ice cream!

August 05, 2009

Yarn/Magazine Tote

Lately I have been doing a lot of crocheting and thought I need a spot to put all my yarn. So after searching I found a good template on Martha Stewart's website. The instructions were a little confusing so I would highly recommend watching the video because it clarifies a few things. My fabric is from Ikea and I love the retro/modern pattern. The yard sticks I got at michaels (but office depot has them cheaper) and the dowels are from Home Depot. Depending on how much your fabric costs, the project is only about $20 and takes a couple of hours to complete. The great thing about this project is that you can use it for yarn, magazines, towels or anything else you want to put in it. You could even make a big version with four yard sticks and turn it into a laundry hamper. Happy crafting!

August 03, 2009

Crochet Tam

I love those slouchy, peasant style hats and thought why not crochet one? So I found a pattern for a tam at and thought I would give it a try. I haven't crocheted for very long so as a beginner I think this pattern is pretty easy. It took me about two hours to make from start to finish. I used a 9.00mm (N) hook instead of the 8.00mm and got some chunky yarn from michaels. It is super soft and super comfy. Can't wait for the fall so I can wear it! It takes a while to get the hang of it but once you do crocheting is easy, don't get discouraged!

Here are some links if you are a beginner and want to try crocheting for yourself:
Basic Stitch
Double Crochet
Double Crochet Together
Crochet a Circle