Friday, February 7, 2014

Etsy Feature Friday

Surprise!

As I now have my own Etsy shop and I know how well this segment of the blog has worked for me in the past, I thought I would reincarnate this much beloved past feature. Set your calendars! Every Friday I will be featuring items from five fellow Etsy shops, based on a weekly theme. As my very first sale last week went to a local buyer, I thought it would only be right to feature local artists this week! Enjoy.

1. Byzantine Chainmaille Bracelet by BridgeCityMaille - $38.72CAD


Description from site (note: this is a partial description; for more information visit the listing page linked above!)

The Byzantine weave is by far one of the most beautiful patterns created using the art of chainmaille. The bracelet above is made using saw cut Anodized Aluminum rings made out of square wire. The resulting rings look like washers. Much like the facets of a gemstone, the flat sides of the rings shimmer and reflect more light than their round counterparts. The clasp used for this bracelet is made of solid stainless steel. Each ring is closed securely, and the completed bracelet has been tumbled to polish it and remove any burrs that result from the cutting process. The bracelet is a little thicker than my other bracelets, at 5/16 inch (about 8 mm) wide. It is very light weight and perfect for the ladies. If done in a favorite colour, men may like it too.





2. Mario & Princess Wedding Cake Topper by My Custom Cake Topper - $150CAD






Description from site:
Bride Princess and Groom Prince Cake Topper.

My sculptures are non-toxic and can last a lifetime, with proper care, a perfect keepsake from your special day.

The pair are approx. 4" tall.|

Every sculpture is made to order and is unique, so it might vary slightly from the examples shown. These beautiful characters are cast from my original sculpture, hand painted and detailed.


3. OOAK Archie Comic 3/4 inch buttons (set of 5) by Abandoned Warehouse- $12.50CAD






Description from Site:
Looking for the perfect unique touch for your handknitted sweaters or anything that needs a button? Want to nerd up your store-bought sweater or anything that needs a button? Look no further!

8 buttons featuring CCA seal of approval, Archie logo, Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Mr. Weatherbee, and Miss Grundy.

These 3/4 inch fabric-covered shank buttons are sold in sets of 8. They are machine-washable and dry-cleanable.


 


Description from Site:
I have available personalized soft blocks. They are approximately 6"x6" square. Each one has ribbon tags on each edge that have been double stitched in.I can make out of many different fabrics. you can choose 3 different fabrics I just ask that one be a plain colour as that is the side that will be embroidered. You can have up to two sided embroidered for the low price of $16 each, each additional side is an extra $5. Before purchase I can email fabric choices and font choices. Perfect for a new baby:)

5. Scimitar - Handmade Nail Polish by Pirate Polish - $11.40CAD







Description from site:
Scimitar is a steely graphite-grey loaded with holographic shimmer. This sharp silver means business!

This listing is for a full size (15 ml) bottle of Scimitar nail lacquer by Pirate Polish. Each Pirate Polish lacquer contains two stainless steel balls to help keep your nail polish thoroughly mixed. All Pirate Polish lacquers are "3 Free" and do not contain formaldehyde, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate.





Of course, don't forget to check out my new shop! You can find it at hardlymartha.etsy.com and follow us on Facebook to see what the new items and promotions are first!



Thursday, February 6, 2014

GIlles' New Wheels - Subaru CrossTrek (2014, Limited Edition)

Shortly before Christmas, Gilles was driving home from work on a main channel on the edge of the city, and hit a deer. His car was totalled, and he was taken into the hospital to ensure that he didn't have a concussion.



Luckily aside from some sore muscles, Gilles was fine. As he was in the hospital until quite late he missed his next day of work, then got a ride from a coworker for his last day of work for the shift.

The next day he went car shopping. He already knew what he wanted, the Subaru Crosstrek. He originally planned to purchase a 2013 vehicle, however when he went to the dealership he found that the price different between the 2013 and 2014 vehicles was negligible. There was also only one limited edition left on the lot, so he went for that one.


I wasn't very involved in the purchasing process. I was working when he went vehicle shopping, so he sent me the link on the site and asked what I thought, and then bought the vehicle before I returned from work.

Overall I am happy with the vehicle. It has a strong engine and good traction, and hasn't given me any strong reasons to dislike it. Here are some of my favorite things about it:
- lots of sitting room, front and back
- comfortable seats, don't get uncomfortable during a long trip
- Great GPS integration
- Individual temperature adjustment (driver and front passenger)
- Seat warmers (sorry, we're in Canada. Had to include)
- Great visibility with strong headlights
- Lifted back seats for improved visibility
- Decent mileage
- Great maneuverability - turns like a car

As with any vehicle, it does have some quirks. Here are some that I noticed:
- Always selects my phone for music over Gilles', despite attempts to turn off autoconnect for mine and leave it on for his
- Hatchback will freeze in locked position when very cold out
- Limited room in hatchback - may become problematic when we have kids
- Seat warmers turn on and off - would prefer consistent heat



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Freezer Meals, Round 2!

At the beginning of January, I switched to a 5-day work week, meaning that my weekends would be reduced to two days rather than 3. (Remarkable, I know.) As a result, I used my last three-day weekend to complete yet another set of Freezer meals. This time, as I did not know how long it would be until I had a 3-day weekend again, I made enough food for two months.

As I was very focused, I did not think to take many photos (bad blogger).

The menu consisted of:

- Ham & Cheese Wraps
- Oatmeal Cupcakes
- Chicken White Pizza
- Mock Lean Cuisine Philly Steak and Cheese Panini
- Pizza Quesadillas
- "Light" Cream Cheese Chicken
- Apple-Glazed BBQ Chicken
- Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna Rolls
- Cheesy Potatoes & Ham
- Chipotle Meatballs
- Italian Layer Bake-Diet Version
- Orange Thyme Shrimp Packets
- Raspberry Mustard Glazed Ham
- Salisbury Steak
- Spicy Cream Cheese & Potatoe Soup

Here are some of the Oatmeal Cupcakes. At 70 cal/cupcake, I have been eating 2 of these/day for breakfast.

One thing that I failed to take into consideration for this freezer meals weekend was the additional time requirement for the additional portions. I figured it would add an hour or two onto each process... boy was I wrong.

For reference, here is the time breakdown from Freezer Meals Round 1:
- Grocery Shopping: 3 hrs (Went to Walmart)
- Prepwork: 7 hrs
- Cooking: 15 hrs

This time, I spent the following amounts of time:
- Grocery shopping: 5 hrs (went to Costco and Walmart)
- Prepwork: 10 hrs
- Cooking: 19 hrs

It doesn't look like much of a difference, but what it means is that I was able to shop on Friday, and unlike the previous time where I did the prepwork and most of the cooking on the Saturday, the Saturday was full with just prepwork. I then did 14 hrs of the cooking on Sunday, and then finished the final 5 hrs after work on the Monday.

I was obviously tired by the time I was done... just Monday I found a few items that I made for the Freezer meals, spoiled and sitting in the oven. Ooops!!

Lucky for me, Gilles was more than willing to come help out with packaging and freezing items, which saved a lot of time.

Here is a photo of the mess in the kitchen after cooking on Sunday! Gilles also cleaned this up for me so that it was ready for me to work again on Monday:


When all was said and done, my freezers were once again full with the following:

- 21 Italian Layer Bakes (and 3 left in the oven...)
- 5 bags of Raspberry Mustard Glazed Ham
- 16 Mock Lean Cuisine Philly Steak and Cheese Panini
- 8 bags Salisbury Steak (4 steak/bag)
- 1 large Ziploc bag Chipotle Meatballs
- 5 Ham Wraps
- 4 bags Glazed BBQ Chicken
- 32 Pizza Quesadillas
- 6 bags (large ziplog, about 1/4 full) Zesty Orange Shrimp
- 15 Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna Rolls
- 21 Oatmeal Cupcakes
- 43 white chicken pizzas (plus 3 that Gilles ate while I was making them)
- 10 medium bags 2/3 full of cheesy potatoes & ham
- 8 medium bags 2/3 full Spicy Cream Cheese & Potatoe Soup
- 6 medium bags 2/3 full Cream Cheese Chicken

Just over a month later we are starting to see some of these items disappear, but probably have enough food left for about 1/2 the month, which is not bad because we have been using all of this very steadily and have served some up to guests as well.

The only thing that I would change next time is instead of doubling the recipes to get two months worth, I would add another months worth of different recipes, because quite frankly I am getting sick of eating the same thing all the time. However, it is definitely handy to be able to have supper ready in under 10 min, and lunches ready to be thrown in the fridge to defrost for the next day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Country-Style Cross-Stitch

For this project I used "Praise God from whom All Blessing Flow", a pattern by Cross-Country Stitching published in their August 2012 magazine.

Here is my finished piece:


The quote at the bottom of the piece is from a prayer that my grandparents and my mom's side of the family sing before meals. I was on my way to a New Years celebration and found this magazine on display at a gas station, with this pattern on the front. I knew I had to make this for my grandparents as soon as I saw it.

For a small pattern (about 5"x7") it is surprising how many hours went into its completion. There are 25 colours in the piece, so you don't 'fly' as quickly as one would were they not needing to change colours as frequently. You'll note that there are two distinct variations between my completed picture and the pattern. First and most obvious, the pattern is stitched on Antique White Aida cloth, which is very bright. I felt that this pattern was better suited to a more rustic feel, and so I chose to stitch mine on Natural Aida Cloth. Both are 14-pt fabrics. Second, you will note that my colours are not identical to those of the pattern. This is simply because as it is a printed pattern and not a kit, the floss did not come with it. Rather than buy all new floss I chose to use the colours I had on hand wherever sensible.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oh, how time flies...

I am happy to say that my absence from the blog has not been due to lack of 'doing' however quiet it seems... it has been a result of the surplus of activities and events! So that I don't overwhelm you I won't go into any of these in detail in this post, but instead will give you a sneak peak of what is upcoming. Also, once each of these posts has been published you will also be able to click on the link above each item to view the related post (until then they will just be text).

Ready, here we go!

Country-style Cross Stitch

Freezer Meals, Round 2!

Gilles' new wheels

Roughrider Lace Shawl

Etsy Shop!




Indoor Rock Climbing

Dishcloth City

Weight loss (non)progress
Mexico (in 3 weeks)

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to sharing all of these adventures with you!