3 Ingredient DIY Foam Paint – It’s that time of year again. The kids are officially out of school and on summer holidays. Unfortunately our kids were off school 2 weeks early due to a teacher’s strike so I had to be proactive in creating some new summer activities early. I had a couple of Noelle’s friends over the other day and we were looking for something to do so I decided foam painting may be fun – we’ve never tried that before. I looked up some recipes online and found that I had all the ingredients I need to create this fun concoction.
Making foam paint is as easy as it gets. You’ve got your shaving cream, your craft/school glue and your food coloring – that’s it!
Mix equal parts shaving cream and glue into a ziplock bag, add your desired food coloring and then, with the bag sealed, squish the bag together until all your ingredients are nicely mixed together. Have your little artists create a layout for their design on a semi-rigid material (I used large white cardboard envelopes) and when they’re ready for the foam simply cut off a corner at the bottom of the bag and use like you’re piping icing. Once the art has been completed, set aside so the foam can dry and solidify overnight.
Ultimate Rice Krispie Squares Recipe – Who doesn’t love a good old fashion rice krispie square, but what if we could kick it up a notch or ten. Meet the Ultimate Rice Krispie Square. I have a wonderful story about how I came to have this recipe that I absolutely must share before I pass it along – please indulge me for a moment if you don’t mind. About a month ago I bought a new camera. I was so excited when the camera arrived, I carried it with me everywhere I went including picking up my daughter from school. One afternoon on the way to school I took a photo of a statue that resides on a residential property right by Noelle’s school. I stopped to take some photos of this lovely angel and when I got home and took a look I really feel in love with the angel photo. The angel statue belongs to a lovely older couple who are always out saying hi to all the children as they go to and come home from school. The gentleman is lovingly called the “candyman” because he’s always giving treats to all the kids who pass by his house. I started thinking about the angel photo I had and decided it would be nice to blow up the photo, get it framed and leave on the couples doorstep. I was mentioning this to Noelle and she asked if she could make a card to go with the photo and I agreed with the condition that she doesn’t include her name – this was to be a random act of kindness. Without us chatting about it she made a beautiful card that made me very proud (see photo of angel and card at bottom of post). The next day we snuck up to their front porch and left the photo/card at their front door – victory, we managed to not get caught. After school I went to pick up Noelle and admittedly I had totally forgotten about the photo/card when I saw the “candyman” out stopping everyone who walked by to show them the card and ask if anyone knew who left it. I managed to sneak past the congregation of parents and went to grab Noelle from school. As we walked back he was still talking about the card and I heard him say that he was going to get the card framed too. Noelle managed to walk past the group without even looking in the direction of the “candyman” – quite a challenge for a seven-year old I’ll tell you. Anyway, that was pretty much the end of the story… until about a week or so later, we had stayed late at school and by the time we left school everyone else had gone home. We walked past the “candyman” and then all the sudden he bellowed, “you’re Noelle aren’t you!” Noelle stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me like “what am I supposed to do now mom” and I nodded to her that it was OK to chat with him. Noelle turned around and acknowledged that yes, she was Noelle. It turns out that someone had squealed on us (I still have no idea who it was and there were only a handful of people who knew about the story). The candyman said “Noelle, I’ve been looking for you everywhere. I’m Henry and you made me a very happy man – please come in the house and see where we’ve hung your photo and meet my wife Joan.” Well, that was it, since then we’ve become great friends with Henry and Joan and Noelle has managed to burrow into their lives (as she often does with people). On our second time at their house Henry offered his special rice krispies squares to us and I told him they were the best I’ve ever had. He and Joan kindly shared their recipe that they’ve been using for many years. Today, in their honour I share this recipe with you too! Ingredients:
1 box of Rice Krispie cereal (the small box)
1.5 large bag of mini marshmallows
1 bag of Mackintosh caramels (approx. 40 caramels). If you want to make these extra crazy gooey, use 3 bags of caramels like my friends Henry and Joan do.
1 tin of sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup of margarine
double boiler (I just used two similar sized pots)
very large mixing bowl
9″x12″ pan + another smaller pan if needed
wax or parchment paper
Once the water in your double boiler comes to a boil add the margarine, caramels and sweetened condensed milk into the top pot. Keep stirring the ingredients until everything has melted together.
Slowly add the mini marshmallows to the melted ingredients in the double boiler a handful at a time until all the ingredients have completely melted. Remove the double boiler from the heat.
Using a very large mixing bowl, add about 1/3 of the box of rice krispies into the bowl and add about 1/3 of the melted mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it’s all mixed together. Repeat 2 more times until all the ingredients have an even coating on then.
Spoon the mixture into a greased pan and spread out – use a piece of wax or parchment paper to smooth down and flatten the mixture. If you have extra mixture left over, spread the remaining rice krispies into a small pan.
Sorry for my long absence but I thought I should explain. Noelle and I had the good fortune to take a couple of weeks to go visit all my family and friends in Ontario. Visits home aren’t usually a big deal but the last time I was home, Noelle was only 10 months old… yes, that was 7 years ago. I know…what a bad child, sister, cousin and friend I’ve been. Luckily, I live in a pretty awesome place so I’ve had the good fortune to have many visits from my Ontario family and friends. None the less, it’s been a long time since I’ve been home and had a proper visit. Noelle’s almost 8 years old now so it was time she met all the rest of her family she didn’t even know she had.
Here are a few photos from our fantastic visit in Ontario including Niagara Falls, the CN tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Muskokas, the Kawarthas, and Lake Ontario. Thanks to everyone who took a moment out of their busy lives to spend some time with us and a special thanks to my parents who managed to put up with us for 11 days straight. Now that I’m back home look for some new posts coming soon.
Mirrorless cameras - Olympus OM-D E-M1 – They say “the best camera is the one you have with you” and lately I’ve noticed that I rarely carry a camera and have come to rely on my iPhone. Now, as I’ve said before, I love my iPhone but in all reality its not the best for a photography enthusiast. Photography has been a hobby of mine for over the past 10 years and although I’ve found myself going through spells where I didn’t use my camera that much, overall it’s been a constant in my life. When it comes down to it, I want to try to capture as much of my life on film as possible – my family is so precious and I don’t want to miss one beautiful moment if possible.
I’ve always been a Canon girl and for the last 3 years I’ve been using a Canon 60D. My camera has served me well but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post I found that I was taking it with me less and less. It’s so heavy and cumbersome and frankly not that enjoyable to carry around. I also noticed that I hadn’t taken it with me on our last few family vacations either because it was too big and took up too much space in my luggage. About a month ago I was taking stock of my all my lenses and thinking about what lenses I was needing for my kit when I had a huge ah-ha moment, “why am I doing this, why am I accumulating more stuff that I never actually take anywhere.” That was the beginning of the end for my DSLR system.
I decided to try to see things from a different point of view. I assessed my needs: I wanted something that’s smaller and lighter that still has versatility and produces amazing quality photographs. While moving to a point and shoot camera was too drastic for me, I came across a relatively new type of hybrid camera called the mirrorless micro 4/3 cameras. They’ve been on the scene for 5-6 years or so but have only recently come into their own. Mirrorless camera’s are a cross between a compact camera and a DSLR - generally they are simpler, smaller, lighter and as such can be more versatile than a DSLR. Also like DSLR cameras, the mirrorless system gives you a choice of various lenses; you can get amazing prime lenses, fast standard and telephoto zooms, and petite collapsible wide angle zooms. Depending on which brand of mirrorless camera you get, there can be a myriad of lens choices (as with the Olympus OM-D which lets you use Olympus, Panasonic and other 3rd party lenses).
The next task was to narrow it down and make a decision on exactly what brand and model of camera I was going to purchase. After tons of research, I decided to go for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 which I’ve found nothing but glowing reviews for. This camera has also been voted camera of the year by many photo magazines, editors and websites. I also researched the lenses on this great resource, dxomark.com, which lists the best lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1. From this list I narrowed my choice down by picking something that had relatively high points but was also in my price range. This Amazon.com list below shows all my final choices – click on an image to get all the details.
I won’t go into all the technical specifications but I will say that I’ve been incredibly happy with the exceptional quality so far in the first week that I’ve had the camera. I purchased the camera with the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens which is simply stunning and I also ordered the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7 and the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lenses. The 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens is as nice if not nicer then any of my Canon lenses and the 45mm prime in particular is breathtaking.
It’s taking a while to learn all the ins and outs of the OM-D but I’m catching on pretty quickly. I’m not trying to sway anyone but I wanted to mention a few things about this great camera:
Portability and stealth – easy to keep in your purse.
Great lenses – not that there are more choices than with a DSLR but there is a huge line up of Olympus and Panasonic lenses that you can use with this camera, many with professional quality glass that costs considerably less than other traditional SLR lenses.
Solid weatherproof build – this crazy beast is dust, splash and freeze proof down to -10 degrees Celsius (14° F).
10 frames per second and awesome auto-focus – blazing fast!
WiFi enabled – control the camera shutter and settings with your iPhone, great for remote situations when you want to jump into the shot and easily send photos to your iPhone.
Incredible electronic viewfinder – there’s nothing out there yet that compares to this amazing viewfinder. See what your finished photo will look like with live-view before you even take the shot.
In camera stabilization – no need to find lenses that have image stabilizers, the camera already has one built-in.
For the joy of shooting – a camera like this opens up opportunities you didn’t even realize you were missing before. No tripod needed in most situations and people aren’t intimidated by a huge camera and lens pointed at them.
Now, keep in mind that while I’m a huge advocate of the smaller mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras still ultimately hold top place (for the moment). The DSLR advantages list includes: superior image quality, fabulous low light performance, total creative and technical control, huge selection of lenses, optical view finders, larger sensors, extensive battery life, highly customizable, and many offer HDTV quality video. Keep in mind that these DSLR advantages may only be relevant at this moment in time… I know for a fact that many of the items I’ve listed in the advantages list are things that are being worked on by the mirrorless camera engineers as we speak. I’m sure in a year or two mirrorless cameras will pretty much hold their own against DSLRs.
You may have asked yourself why I’ve written this post and my point here is simply to say that its OK to stop and take a look at your equipment and ask yourself if it’s really working for you – if you aren’t carrying it with you then it’s not working. Technology changes so quickly these days you may not even be aware of the options available to you. As a mother, my favorite thing to photograph is my child and if I don’t have my camera with me then what’s the point. Now I have a stunning camera that I can keep in my purse and am not burdened by its huge size and weight but also know that I can count on amazing quality every time. I’m looking forward to many more fabulous photographs in my future.
By the way, I’m not affiliated with or get any money from Olympus to talk about this camera… I just love it.
Here are some of my first test shots from the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Below is a cropped close-ups of the moss photo so you can see the great sharpness and detail that this camera and lens can capture.
As a graphic designer, I spend much of my day working with fonts. We are all familiar with fonts but do you really understand what fonts do – beside the obvious of course. Using a cooking analogy, I like to think of fonts as the herbs, spices and condiments that add flavour to your meal; without these flavour combinations, meals would be somewhat boring and bland.
There are thousands of fonts available but as a designer I find I tend to go back to the many of the same fonts over and over because they work in so many scenarios. Of course, many of my standby fonts are commercial fonts that must be purchased before you can use them but luckily now there are many lovely fonts available for free too. I’ve selected some great fonts that can be downloaded for free (personal use only). Some free fonts offer an option to donate to the designer and as a fellow designer I often try to give them a small donation if I can afford to do so. Please keep that in mind if you have the means because it takes a long time and effort to develop and design a font package.
Spring iPhone and iPad Wallpaper – Spring is all around us and so is the beauty of this season. This is the time of year to shed your winter coats, scarves and boots and get outside. Take your kids, dog, camera, sketch pad, picnic basket and start exploring the world. As a gentle reminder to get out and take in all of nature waking up from a long slumber, I’ve created these iPhone and iPad wallpapers. I love this great quote from Marilyn Monroe “Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” Use these designs with your lock screen or as your regular background. Have fun, get out and enjoy your life – it’s a beautiful thing!
Download the iPhone wallpaper here (when the image comes onto the screen, right-click on it and then go to “save images as”).
Download the iPad wallpaper here (when the image comes onto the screen, right-click on it and then go to “save images as”).
Home Book Club Card - In my recent post Certificate of Awesomeness I confessed to my parenting “oops” when my daughter didn’t get a card of congratulations from her teacher for reading 100 books. As you know, Noelle did indeed read 100 books and I created a certificate of awesomeness to help fix my blunder. In the same vain, we really work hard to make sure Noelle is a confident reader and yesterday after school she spent about an hour reading. Both my husband and I were impressed by this desire to read without being prompted and Michael had a great idea to encourage this positive behaviour – like the “karma card” from another one of my posts, why not have a home book club where a reward is given after reading 10 books (this does not include her books that we read for school). Noelle loved the idea too so I spent the morning creating a Home Book Club card. I’ve created two versions, one called the “Home Book Club” for families to use, and then I made one called the “Kids Book Club” that can be used by teachers, counsellors, kids clubs, camps, libraries, etc.
DIY Seed Bombs – I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you live but in Victoria spring is definitely in the air. The trees are full with cherry blossoms, the fields are covered in daffodils and tiny tender green leaves are poking out of the bushes. It’s hard not to be in a good mood when you can look outside and see the plant world waking up from a long winter’s sleep. To help ring in this beautiful new season we’ve decided to make seed bombs. Seed bombs are a fun way to add beauty to hard to reach and neglected green space. This is a great project for kids and is super easy to do. Noelle and I made them in about half an hour and then it took about 48 hours for them to completely dry. We have a steep and difficult to navigate hill in our back yard that we’ll be bombing with our seed bombs this weekend.
Seeds – a collection of seeds of your choice – we used mostly wildflowers but added in some extra seeds as well (note: the larger seeds don’t always stay in your seed bomb easily so use smaller seeds if possible – I used some sunflower, nasturtium and sweet pea seeds that were pretty big and I had to work hard to keep them in the seed bomb)
Colored paper torn into pieces – 2-3 pages (I used 3 pages of paper; red, orange and pink)
Newspaper torn into pieces – 2-3 pages
Silicone mold – if you don’t have a mold you can also just form into balls with your hands
2 cups of water
After you’ve torn up all your paper, put the pieces into the blender.
Add 2 cups of water to blender and blend everything until pulverized.
Place a strainer over a small bowl and pour the entire contents from the blender into the strainer. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes so the water can drain out of the pulp.
Scoop a handful of paper pulp out of the strainer and add a small spoonful of seeds to your pulp.
Gently mix up the pulp and seeds and squeeze out any excess water over a bowl until the seed bomb is fairly compact.
Press the mixture into a mold, squeezing out any excess water and draining it from the mold. Continue until you’ve used up all the pulp.
Finally, using a paper towel, press down on each seed bomb to soak up any left over moisture in the seed bomb – we want to remove as much water as possible to prevent the seeds from germinating.
Allow seed bombs to dry for 24-48 hours and then gently remove from mold.
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Certificate of Awesomeness – We’ve all had those moment as parents where we realize that we’ve dropped the ball – recently I had such a moment. I went to pick up my daughter from school and noticed that the teacher was frantically chasing down kids to give them really cute cards of congratulations. The kids were so excited to be receiving these colorful and vibrant cards. Before we knew it, the cards were all handed out and Noelle hadn’t received anything. I noticed small tears welling up in her eyes. When I inquired about the cards it turned out that they were given to the kids who had read 100 books at home. My heart started pounding and my face went red… oh no… this was all my fault. I had to admit it, I hadn’t been keeping up with the book tracking journal and hadn’t handed it in. We faithfully read with Noelle every night so I know she should have received the proper accolades for her achievement. Noelle managed to hold back the tears but I knew she was quite upset, especially seeing all the other kids excitedly comparing their cards.
Once we had left school, I admitted my failure to my daughter. She was upset with the situation but didn’t really say much more about it. After a few guilt ridden days, in an attempt to restore my status of “best mom in the world”, I came up with a plan to resolve the situation. I decided to create my own award… a Certificate of Awesomeness. I cobbled a certificate together, making it fun and colorful, all the time having visions of my teary eyed child in my minds eye. We finally presented her with the certificate and she was thrilled – it’s posted on the bulletin board in her room now and she often looks at it with pride.
I made this certificate generic in the hopes that others may find it useful if they ever have a slip up and need to pander to their child. Or sometimes your kid just does something particularly amazing that you want to recognize. Now you can simply print out this certificate and show your child how proud you are of them. This is also great for teachers, counsellors, grandparents, therapists and nurses, etc.
Mandala Coloring Pages – These beautiful circular designs are called mandalas. Mandalas are as old as history itself and mean “sacred circle” in Sanskrit. In various ancient and spiritual cultures including Buddhists, Tibetans, Hindus and North American Indians, the mandala has been used as a form of meditation, in sacred rites to aid in healing and to invoke spiritual energy. Mandalas have often represented life, nature, creation, wellness and the universe.
Today mandalas are used as a form of art therapy. Drawing and coloring mandalas is known to have a centering, calming effect for both children and adults. For elderly people, coloring mandalas helps them increase focus and concentration. People are often intimidated by a big blank piece of paper and they may get anxious not knowing how or what to draw. Pre-made mandalas help give people a comfortable starting place with little fear of failure. Just by adding a little bit of coloring, people suddenly become artists and have a great sense of accomplishment when they are done. You can use coloring pencils, pen and ink, crayons or watercolor to color mandalas.
I had so much fun designing these mandala coloring pages – that in itself was therapeutic. I’ve created these pages with 12 mandalas to a page and also larger mandalas with two pages of 6 mandalas. You can download the 12 mandalas to a page here and the 6 mandalas to a page here. Enjoy and happy coloring!
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Striped Pinched Crochet Headband – I admit it, I’m a big wimp when it comes to cold weather. I actually moved to Vancouver Island, an area that many consider the most mild climate in Canada, just to escape the frigid cold. While the majority of the winter we manage to elude the cold weather, we do get the occasional day below zero degrees (Celsius). Today I thought I’d show you all my Striped Pinched Crochet Headband I made for my daughter. She’s not a big fan of hats so this is a good alternative for her and I know it will keep her precious little ears toasty warm. This is a really easy pattern, something you can make in an hour or two.
Medium/Worsted weight yarn in 3 colors (colors A, B and C) – I used Red Heart Soft yarn
Crochet Hook – US J10/6.00mm (if you want a tighter look to the stitches use a slightly smaller crochet hook)
Button of your choice
Ch = chain, sl st = slip stitch, sc = single crochet, dc = double crochet (U.S.)
Measure the head size of the person you’re making the headband for.
With color A, make a chain (by using the chain stitch) that is 1″ shorter than the person’s head size (do not stretch the chain to measure it). Make sure you keep a loose tension while making the chain.
Once you’ve got the correct length chain, check that the chain hasn’t twisted and then join to the first stitch with a sl st so that it now forms a ring.
Round 2: dc in every chain until you’re completed the round and join to the first dc with a sl st.
Round 3: change to color B, ch 1 and then sc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 4: change to color C, ch 2 and then dc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 5: change to color B, ch 1 and then sc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 6: change to color A, ch 2 and then dc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 7: change to color B, ch 1 and then sc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 8: change to color C, ch 2 and then dc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 9: change to color B, ch 1 and then sc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 10: change to color A, ch 2 and then dc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Round 11: continue with color A, ch 1 and then sc in each stitch in the round. Join with a sl st.
Bind off and weave in the ends.
Determine where you want your button. Turn the headband inside out, pinch the middle rows together (approximately rounds 3-9) and then sew them together with your color B yarn.
Sew the button on top of the pinched area. Weave in and trim any loose ends.
Lemon Walnut Brussels Sprout Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps - Brussels sprouts and I have never been friends, not even acquaintances for that matter. I can safely say that out of all the vegetables, brussels sprouts are all the bottom of my favorites list…until recently that is. I came up with this recipe for brussels sprouts that is amazing (if I do say so myself). Today’s recipe for lemon walnut brussels sprout Stuffed portobello mushrooms is a modified and enhanced version of my original recipe (post still to come). All I’m going to say is that this recipe will turn those brussels sprout haters into lovers and “may I have more please” askers. And, the portobello mushroom is simply the icing on top of the cake (or the fungus on the bottom of the stuffing in this case). This recipe is super easy and it only takes a few minutes to put it together. It’s cooked in the oven but could also be done on the grill. Serve this at your next dinner party and they’ll think you slaved for hours on this dish.
Easy Rainbow Loom Perler Bead Bracelet Video Tutorial
Easy Rainbow Loom Bracelet with Perler Beads Video Tutorial – I’m so excited about this post. This is my first ever Dabblesandbabbles.com video tutorial. I’ve been wanting to do a video tutorial for a while now but I was waiting for the perfect project – I think I found it. This video tutorial is on how to make rainbow loom bracelets with perler beads. I have no idea if this has already been done before or not but I thought I’d give it a go. I played around with the elastics and beads until I found something that worked. These bracelets are very easy to make and great for beginners to the rainbow loom.
To get going on this project you’ll need a rainbow loom (and hook), rainbow loom elastics, and perler beads. All of these items can be found at Michaels. Once you get the hang of it, you can make these fun bracelets in about half an hour. Give them to your friends, family, teachers and coaches – they’ll be a big hit!
Smoky Quinoa Chickpea Salad – This salad has become my new lunchtime favorite. I came across this hand typed recipe on Facebook. It sounded so good I had to give it a try – wow is all I can say. It’s such a healthy, flavorful salad and it has a really interesting smoky flavor thanks to the smoked Spanish paprika. Everyone who’s tried it has asked me for the recipe. If you’re not familiar with quinoa, it’s quite a fantastic food or superfood to be more precise. Quinoa is the seed of a plant belonging to the same family as other favored super-veggies including spinach, swiss chard, and beets. It’s one of the most nutritionally dense foods available, provides all nine essential amino acids and has twice the fiber of most other grains. It has a mild flavor so it can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. As per usual, I rarely leave a recipe unmodified from the original and this recipe is no different; I’ve added a few little extras. Sadly, I don’t know where this recipe originated so if anyone knows who to credit please let me know.
Smoky Quinoa Chickpea Salad Recipe
1.5 cups quinoa
2 cups water
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cucumber, chopped unpeeled
1 pint cherry or baby tomatoes, halved
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 cup of parsley, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: I like to lay it on a bed of salad greens or kale. I’ve also added minced green olives and cauliflower which I thought made nice additions to the salad.
Rinse quinoa. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Take off heat and let sit covered in saucepan.
Combine chickpeas, cucumber, parsley, onions, and half the feta in a large bowl. Toss until well mixed.
Gently toss with cooled quinoa.
Wisk vinegar, honey, oil, grainy mustard and olive oil together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the combined salad ingredients.
Add tomatoes, and gently toss, being careful not to over mix.
Crochet Symbols and Directions chart with US & UK terminology.
Crochet Symbols and Directions Chart – As you all know by now, I’ve been really getting into crochet over the past year or so. I still consider myself a newbie and I’m trying to learn new stitches and designs whenever I can find the time. To this point I’ve only followed written directions and whenever I’ve come across patterns with all those weird symbols I’ve immediately discarded the pattern without even attempting to understand it. Recently I came across a YouTube video that showed a woman crocheting but she also showed how she followed the symbol pattern – even though it was in a different language, I totally got the drift and realized that theses patterns aren’t as scary as they seem. After doing a little more research I realized that I couldn’t find any really great symbol reference charts. I started pulling a collection together from what I could find and before you I knew it I had created a pretty comprehensive crochet symbols and directions chart.
I also tried to address the issue of US vs. UK terminology by putting the correct name for each symbol with a little flag beside to indicate what that symbol is called depending on whether its a US or UK pattern. I hope you’ll find this crochet symbols and direction chart helpful. Now maybe you’ll decide to given patterns written in symbols a second chance, I know I will.
Who doesn’t love the multitude of flavors that fresh herbs add to a meal. I’m so lucky to live in a climate where I can grow a variety of herbs year round. I try to use them whenever I get the opportunity. Not only are they incredibly tasty but many herbs also offer great health benefits. Parsley for example relaxes muscles and aids in digestion, rosemary boosts brainpower, oregano fights inflammation and thyme and sage are full of antioxidants.
Sometimes the thing that prevents us from using these wonderful herbs is our lack of knowledge of which herbs go with which foods. I’ve created a printable quick reference chart for you to keep in your cookbook or stick on the inside of your cupboard. This chart helps to layout what herbs goes best with the various meats, salads, soups, etc.
To download and print off your own herb chart, click here.
DIY Foaming Hand Soap – Who doesn’t like foaming hand soap. The problem is that you tend to go through it so quickly – especially if you have kids. Not to panic, there’s a really simple way to make your own foaming hand soap. It’s actually the container pump that makes the soap come out all foamy and lately I’m finding it hard to throw away perfectly good containers so why not be both frugal and environmentally conscious by refilling your old container. I worked it out and it cost less than a quarter to refill a container with this DIY foaming soap. This inexpensive soap is also perfect for the cottage, camping, or to keep near the garden.
The recipe for the DIY foaming hand wash is crazy simple. You take your container, you add some dish soap, some water and voila you’re done.
Clean container with foam pump (I used one from Bath and Body Works and removed the labels)
Dish soap of your choice (I’m sure liquid hand soap would work too)
Get an empty and clean foam pump container and fill it up between 1/6 and 1/4 of the way with dish soap.
Fill the rest of the container with water (make sure you don’t fill it too much but leave space at the top for the pump to go in – otherwise it will overflow).
Twist the pump lid on and give the container a gentle shake to make sure the soap and the water mix together.
Go ahead and give it a few pumps and the foam should start coming out.