Thursday, December 15, 2011

Season's Greetings

Our online holiday dance was on ElfYourself in 2011 but has now expired.

There is the 2012 new, free elf greeting creator called Elf Madness.

All the best to you and your loved ones this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lest we forget

A poignant Remembrance Day video by Terry Kelly called 'Pittance in Time' stressing the value of observing a minute of silence to commemorate the huge price paid by military personnel in combat.

Please take that moment to also think about our 'walking wounded', who suffer PTSD.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton's love letter to Canada

Canada is in mourning. A great Canadian died early today.

Even in the face of impending death, Jack Layton, our leader of the official opposition party in Canada's Parliament, took the time to pen a hopeful, inspiring letter to his fellow Canadians, which personified his indomitable spirit.

Here is the text of his beautiful letter.

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

Rest in peace, Jack. You will be remembered with kind and loving thoughts.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy 32nd birthday!

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Today my daughter turns 32. Goodness, how time has flown.

So many lovely memories. She was such a sweet child with a myriad of nicknames like 'Bunny Girl' and 'Chickadee'. During the teen years, there was quite a saucy little break but adulthood rekindled her innate sweetness.

The pictures inside this birthday card are evocative for me.

Her favourite toy was a very tattered, well-loved, white kitty that eventually lost its tail. As often happens with favourite toys, Kitty got lost. What a panic! Fortunately, I was able to replace it after a lengthy period of scouring every local toy store. Then, fortune struck again and Kitty resurfaced. She promptly renamed both to 'Kitty with no tail' and "Kitty with a tail'.

Her second love affair revolved around her homemade Mary Maxim, bunny sweater. One day, while I was driving and glanced into the rear-view mirror, I saw her stroking the sweater and cooing, "Ooooooh...bunnies!". This spawned her nickname 'Bunny Girl'. That is one of those memory flashes that will probably endure to my grave.

Happy birthday, Elizabeth. You are the sweetest, kindest person I know.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Midas Touch

The Iron Craft Challenge this week was called Midas Touch. My submission was this paper, quilted card pictured below. Even though the pictures don't show it well, each paper used has gold in it. The star's points are gold, sparkle paper.

Since I'm not the frilly type, I adapted a tutorial found on the Splitcoaststampers by Jenna Barber. Jenna's instructions are clear and easily understood.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scars of Shame

Following up on my post called FOREVER MARKED: A Dermatillomania Diary, there is now a trailer posted on YouTube for the documentary called Scars of Shame, which features my niece's story of her struggles with the condition dermatillomania (a compulsive skin picking disorder).

Director: Lisa Heyden
DOP: Darryl LeBlanc
Editor: Darryl LeBlanc/Lisa Heyden
Sound Mix: John Rosborough

You can also view other videos on Angela's YouTube channel.

If you wish to contact Angela about her book or her story, visit her Facebook Fan Page for her book, FOREVER MARKED: A Dermatillomania Diary. You can also email her at or email her at

Updated: March 9, 2013
20th Annual National Conference on Hair Pulling & Skin Picking Disorders - April 19-21, 2013 | Renaissance Newark Hotel, New Jersey

November 25, 2012
Niece officially launches Dermatillomania website

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cutting down toxins and waste in our home

Appliances as gifts for me are usually a major faux pas but this year I did ask hubby for one because I felt it would truly enhance our life.

Hubby spent months researching our needs and checking for sales, which resulted in gifting me with this little beauty.

Quick note: This post is self-generated from happiness over may Christmas gift. I am neither affiliated with the company that produced this product nor receiving any remuneration for it.

We are trying to eliminate as many contaminants from our living space as possible without compromising cleanliness levels. We have a dog and two cats. We weren't only concerned with the dander they produce but worried about them licking their paws and ingesting chemicals from the cleaners on the market. We weren't comfortable with the off-gassing of those products, either.

My Shark Steam Blaster uses water not cleaning fluids. After cleaning with it, our home now smells like fresh, line-dried linen and our surfaces are sterilized by the steam.

Besides eliminating chemicals, we wanted to eliminate waste. We just pop the cloth cleaning pad in the washer.

Here are its attributes, according to Canadian Tire's listing for it:

- Equipped with steam pocket technology, the steam blaster provides 30 minutes of cleaning time on a single tank of water.
- Turns ordinary tap water into a powerful household cleanser.
- Cleans, sanitizes and deodorizes appliances, countertops, bathrooms, tiles, mirrors and more without harsh chemicals.
- Steam ready in 5 minutes.
- Large wheels for easy mobility.

And, due to my hubby's research and patience, he snagged this at a pre-Christmas sale for $65.99, plus taxes. Major scoop, since it is now listed for $169.99!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reviving my favourite slippers

My daughter made me a fantastic pair of felted slippers for Christmas 2009. I loved them...apparently my dogs did, too. Although neither pooch is the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, they seemed to master the following, simple math equation:



Now the cold weather has set in again and my mind was still on the the second Iron Craft challenge, I resolved that it was time to 'draft-bust' my toes, too.

- slippers
- leather
- felt
- black, waxed, carpet thread (Substitution: thick, waxed, dental floss)

- white pencil or dressmaking chalk
- sharp, heavy duty scissors
- Karen Foster 'Clikit' (a punching/embossing/eyelet setting tool)
- 4 mm. punching tip
- carpet needle

Step 1: Place the slippers on the sueded side of the leather.

Step 2: Trace the slipper shape onto the leather with a white pencil.

Step 3: Cut out the slipper shape.

Step 4: Load your Clikit tool with the 4 mm. punch tip and punch holes along the perimeter of each leather slipper shape. Try and keep the holes at regular intervals and avoid getting too close to the edge of the leather.

Step 5: Use the slipper shapes to cut two felt thicknesses for each foot. There's no need to create punch holes in the felt.

Step 6: Stack your materials in the following order: felted slipper, two pieces of the felt shapes, and on piece of the punched leather shape. Make sure the suede side of the leather faces inward. You can clamp these together with some clothes pins, if you like.

Step 7: Sew your slipper forms onto your slipper through the holes punched in the leather, using a running stitch. The best tool for this kind of sewing is carpet needle threaded with black, waxed, carpet thread or thick, waxed dental floss. The carpet needle is sharp enough to pierce through the felted slipper and two pieces of felt shapes. The black, waxed, carpet thread will slide through the material easily, plus it is strong enough to withstand frequent wear.

The carpet needle is the middle one in the picture below. The tip is sharp but flattened, similar to the blade of a double-edged knife.

Step 8: Trim any excess felt material, if it shifted during sewing.

Looks like my toes will be toasty-warm for at least the rest of the winter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oh baby, it's COLD out there!

Hubby and I live in an apartment in Canada. Our master bedroom is on the corner of the building and we've lived with the draft assaulting our heads in that room for six years.

Until the second Iron Craft challenge, I didn't really stretch my brain cells on what to do about it; I only focused on what I couldn't do. The bedroom has sliding windows, so a padded, window snake wouldn't meet our needs. The challenge gave me a chance to think outside the box. Besides banishing the draftiness, I wanted something that would afford more privacy without sacrificing natural light during the day.

Here is the solution, which required some help from my hubby. We're so pleased with it that we've even given it a name, 'Room with a View'.


Now that you've seen the 'before' picture, I'm sure the question that begs to be asked is, "Why didn't we just move the bed to another wall?" Well, in order to fit all our bedroom furniture, while leaving plenty of room for egress, there was only one possible place to put it...right in front of that dratted window.

My hubby already had one of his photographs printed up on translucent plastic. I measured the inside width of the window, got him to make a frame from some old pieces of baseboard, I painted it, and then we attached the print to the back of the frame.

It fits easily into the window framing and the space at the top allows any winter condensation to dry.

The translucence of the plastic allows natural light to enter the room during the day. Here is a picture of the frame, back lit, so you can see how much light will filter through.


Now for the reveal; hope you like it!

Now I just have to wheedle hubby into making some kind of shelving above it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Easy fire starter

I was browsing online and came across a fellow crafter's blog Backstitch Baby with a tutorial on how to make some easy, fire starters for fireplaces, wood stoves or camping.

Years ago, I made and sold these to a local hardware store. They really work. I packaged them in brown paper, lunch bags with the above graphic printed on them.

My technique was a little different. I used old muffin tins as uniform bases, filled them to one-third with Parowax, dipped the pine cones in wax to lightly coat them, and used candle wicking.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chocolate Apricot Flan

It's my hubby's birthday today. Birthdays close to the holidays sometimes don't get the proper attention paid to them so, to ensure the day is special, I acquired the cake ingredients in November so he could have a unique cake to enjoy.

Also, I'd like to share the recipe so perhaps you may enjoy it, too. I can't attribute the recipe to anyone because I acquired it many years ago and it was written on a recipe card by me.

Chocolate Apricot Flan

Preheat oven to 375°F

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Special tools needed:
- flan tin
- cake rack
- basting brush

Prepare your flan tin by rubbing it with butter, swish some flour around the pan until the butter is covered. Shake off the excess flour and set aside.

Melt together:
- 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 cup butter

Once the melted mixture has cooled, transfer it into a mixer and then add the following, mixing on low after each ingredient addition:
- 2 eggs

Mix in on low.

- 1/2 cup milk
Mix in on low.

- 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier
Mix in on low.

- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
Mix in on low.

- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
Mix in on low.

- 3/4 cup of sugar
Mix in on low.

- 3/4 cup of flour
Mix in on low.

When finished, your batter should resemble chocolate mousse. Pour into your prepared flan tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You can check done-ness by touching the top, middle of the flan. If it springs back after you touch it, it is done.

Remove from the oven and place the flan tin on a baking rack to ensure the flan cools evenly.

Once cooled, place a plate over the top of the tin and flip it over. Remove the collar and then the flan disk.

Brush 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier on the top of your flan.

Then arrange on top of the flan:
- 1 can of drained, apricot halves

Heat together to make a glaze:
- 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
- 2 tablespoons of apricot jam

Brush the glaze on top of the apricot halves.

Sprinkle some almond slices on top, if you desire.

C'est fini...enjoy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Iron Craft: 52-week challenge

Iron Craft is holding a year-long, craft challenge.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to more actively explore my creativity so I decided to join this crafting challenge. This might actually force me to follow through on my resolution.

If you would like to find out the details on how to join this challenge, go to Iron Craft's page Are you ready for the year of crafty?

This week's challenge for January 9th is called Lighting the Winter Gloom.

Here's my entry for Challenge #1: I pierced a copper sheet with a recurring apple pattern, framed it, and used it to cover a really ugly, fluorescent light above my sink.