Valentine’s Day Handwarmers

Hello! Today I will be teaching you how to make Valentin’s Day handwarmers. They have little heart appliques which make them super adorable. These are really quick and simple to make,  and serve as a great Valentine’s Day gift for anyone, family, friend, or something more. Here is what you will need:

  • Sweater-like material
  • Felt
  • Sewing machine
  • Rice
  • Funnel
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Handwarmer pattern cutouts (PDF at the bottom of this post)

Step 1: Cut out 4 ovals out of the sweater material. You will use two for each handwarmer. Also cut out two hearts from the felt. Sew a heart onto the middle of two ovals using a straight stitch and slightly less than a 1/8″ seam allowance. Unless you’re using matching thread, make sure you outline the heart neatly, so that your handwarmer doesn’t look messy.

Step 2: With wrong sides together, sew two ovals together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave a space about an inch wide along one curve (leaving the opening on a wide spot makes it harder to sew shut later) open for stuffing.

Step 3: Stick a funnel into the opening of the handwarmer. Pour about 2 teaspoons of rice into the handwarmer. If your funnel has a small opening, you may want to add the rice in small bits so that the spout doesn’t get clogged. Sew the opening shut. Repeat steps 1-3 for each handwarmer.

Your handwarmers are now finished! To warm them up, place on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds. These handwarmers can be held to keep your hands warm, or slid into mittens and gloves with pockets (such as Head hand-wear) to keep your mitts warm.

To access the PDF pattern, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Nancy Drew

‘Not many girls would have used their wits the way you did.’

Hello! Today I will be blogging about the Nancy Drew mystery series, by Carolyn Keene. First, I will give you some general information:

  • Author: Carolyn Keene
  • Genre: Mystery fiction
  • Age: 10+
  • Please note: These books contain tense moments and cliffhangers as well as light elements of romance such as dating.

The Nancy Drew books were originally published in the 1930’s. Since then, a newer series, called Nancy Drew Girl Detective, has come out, starting in 2006, that is published in first person instead of third. I have never bothered with the new series, as it is my firm belief that the original is always best.

Nancy Drew was actually published by many authors, all under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. The pseudonym (a false name an author uses for his books, AKA pen name. Example: Dr. Seuss is actually Theodore Geisel) was originally taken up by Leslie McFarlane, the author of the Hardy Boys, which is pretty much Nancy Drew for boys. For the Hardy Boys novels, McFarlane used the name Franklin W. Dixon as a pseudonym.

Nancy Drew is a series of mystery novels originally consisting of 56 books, from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Thirteenth Pearl. In each book, Nancy Drew, a 19-year-old daughter of a well-known attorney, solves a mystery that often contains some mysterious object with her friends, cousins Georgia (George) Fayne and Bess Marvin. With the help of their boyfriends, Ned Nickerson, Dave Evans, and Burt Eddleton, they solve the case, after many intense cliffhangers (some of them quite literally), and plenty of danger.

I like reading the Nancy Drew mystery stories as something light and cheesy after reading something deep or slow, as a kind of ‘break’.  Because there are so many, the plots can get unoriginal. Something I chuckle at is that Nancy is the perfect girl: gorgeous, smart, athletic, and incredibly talented. There was one time when she did a spectacular twist-flip dive off a high diving board, and what sleuth knows how to do that?! But I enjoy the Nancy Drew books; they are still very entertaining, and in a good way.

Here is a list of the first ten books:

  1. The Secret of the Old Clock
  2. The Hidden Staircase
  3. The Bungalow Mystery
  4. The Mystery at Lilac Inn
  5. The Secret of Shadow Ranch
  6. The Secret of Red Gate Farm
  7. The Clue in the Diary
  8. Nancy’s Mysterious Letter
  9. The Sign of the Twisted Candles
  10. Password to Larkspur Lane

If you like haunting mysteries and easy reading, then Nancy Drew is a great pick!

If you would like more information on these books, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Stuffies

Hello! Today I’m going to blog about stuffies. However, not just the plush toy, but the word itself. Lately, I have been thinking about how weird the English language is. We have over 10 synonyms for happy. Also, why is vomit called vomit, puke, and sick? They all mean the same thing, and unlike happy, there aren’t any variations of sick. One reason we have so many words for happy is that they describe different levels of happy (content, joyful, elated). But vomit does not have variations. It means the same thing, so why are there so many ways to say it? It’s the same with couch and sofa. Another thing I find weird is that we have slangs that make no sense whatsoever, like ‘awesomesauce!’ Why is sauce awesome? Couldn’t we just say ‘great’? Many of our words also change over time, like gayGay used to mean happy or blissful. Now it means transgender. Sick used to be slang for stupid or bad, but now it means cool or radical (do you even know what rad means? It’s the long [proper] version of rad.). To francophones (people who speak French), everything we say is backwards. An example is ‘Harrison’s wife’ seems perfectly fine, but in French it would be , ‘la femme de Harrison,’ which is ‘thee wife of Harrison.’ We also give inanimate objects possession: the chair’s legs.

Anyway, ‘stuffy’ is one of those weird English things. One definition of stuffy is a plush toy, like a teddy bear. They are called stuffies because they are filled with polyester fiberfill, giving them a cozy cushioning.

However, stuffy also means congested. If you have a head cold and your nose is plugged up wiith mucus, you have a stuffy nose.

Stuffy means hot or muggy, as well. If it’s a hot summer day and your air conditioner is not working, your house probably feels stuffy.

I find it really weird that ‘stuffy’ can mean three things that are entirely different. English is so weird … one of the reeasons I enjoy learning French is because it is so different and really opens my mind.

If you would like start Duolingo yourself, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Doll Scrunchies

Hello!  Today I will be teaching you how to sew doll scrunchies. These are miniature versions of an easy scrunchie tutorial my mum  found on another website, the link of which can be found at the end of this post. They work on any doll with ‘real’ hair. Doll scrunchie are small enough to stay on an 18″ doll’s wrist, which gives your doll an adorable look. They usually aren’t stretchy enough to be used as a hair tie, so you’ll want to use a small elastic and put the scrunchie overtop for fun hairstyles. Here is what you will need:

  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Round or 1/8″ elastic
  • Jersey cotton
  • Scissors

Step 1: Cut a long strip of fabric about 16×2 inches. With the right sides together, fold it in half and sew it along the open side with a 1/4″ seam allowance, then turn it right side out. You will now have a very long tube.,

Step 2: Cut a strip of elastic 4″ long and use a safety pin to thread it through the tube. The fabric will scrunch up a great deal. Tie the ends of the elastic together so that the circumference of the inside of the circle is 2-2.5 inches.

Step 3: Fold over the raw edge of one side of the tube and pull it over the other end. Sew it together with a 1/8″ seam allowance. Your scrunchie is now finished!

Step 4 (Optional): If you wish, you can add a tie by sewing a strip of fabric and tying it around the scrunchie.

I hope you enjoyed this scrunchie tutorial. May your dolls be forever stylish!

If you would like the tutorial for the original scrunchie, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Scrapbooking

 

Hello! Today I will be blogging about scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is a fun pastime that helps you preserve your life. You can flip through the pages of your scrapbook and think, ‘Oh, yes, I remember doing that,’ or ‘Oh, yes, I remember going there.’ Scrapbooking is a fun hobby, too, and you can make your keepsakes creative.

When I do something memorable or someone gives me a special note, I tape or glue it in my scrapbook and some months later I will look back and smile. I make my own scrapbooks out of printer paper and cardstock, with a few decals to make it look nice. I use cardstock for the covers, and some 10-20 sheets of paper on the inside. I printed the title ‘Susan’s Scrapbook’ in a fun font on the front cover and added some ribbon flowers I glues together, binding the thing with ribbons wound through hole-punched paper. There are also scrapbooking kits you can get to make your scrapbook intricate and professional, with stencils, frames, and stickers.

I put literally anything in my scrapbook. I taped in my admission sticker from Skyzone, ribbons from track & field meets, notes from my sister, confetti from a concert, old drawings, and other random things that mean something. Scrapbooks preserve your life and keep memories hidden inside them to look back on and be handed on. They can help you let go of your past if something hurtful recently happened and you staple in a relic of it. I find scrapbooks precious, and I like to have one on hand.

If you want creative scrapbooking ideas, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

The Wonders of my Cat

My cat’s name is Bedhead.

When he wakes up in the morning,

All he wants is to be fed.

Yet I can’t help adoring

His squinty eyes and messy coat

And how he wishes still to be snoring.

 

When I pick him up, soon a sound comes from his throat,

A wondrous purring, soft and warm.

I hold him in many different ways,

He clings and snuggles, I cuddle and hug.

Other times his paws are crossed

And he gazes as we walk along

At birds perched on white leaves of frost.

When I put him down, he thinks it’s wrong,

And sits, waiting for me to come

He lets out accusing, demanding meows;

As I walk, my pity drums

And turning back, through snow I plough,

To scoop him up again.

When he eats his softened food,

I smile and laugh to hear

A wet, gurgling sound as he chews.

 

I love it when he rubs my legs;

A gentle nudge or tiny paw,

He doesn’t even need to beg

To be snuggled close and hugged.

His pale green eyes

And light-orange fur,

His larger size

And vibrating purr

Make him utterly irresistible.

He loves his home,

His wooden house;

Whenever he roams

To hunt his mouse,

With stealth and silence

No other can match,

He’ll suddenly pounce

And make his catch,

With quite a smug face

And very full belly,

Yet he always comes back

To the home he adores,

The little shack,

With its musty scent

And fluffy cat-bed.

I love my cat,

And he loves me,

From his pink, wet nose

To his bean-shaped toes.

 

If you want more poems about cats, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Grandmother’s Cookies

Hello! Today I will be teaching you how to bake Grandmother’s Cookies. These cookies are a family recipe my mum got from her mum, and so on. They are typical sugar cookies, but a hint of almond extract makes them positively delectable! They are a perfect treat for any celebration.

  • Preparation time: 1 hr 15 minutes
  • Bake time: 8-10 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hr 20 minutes
  • Yields: about 50 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 6-7 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375° C. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, shortening, milk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Add four cups of flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add 2-3 cups of flour until the dough has a thick but rollable consistency. Mix well. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave it to chill in a refrigerator for one hour.

Step 2: On a nonstick mat or clean, floured surface, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into circles, or any shape, really, with cookie cutters. If you are using circle cutters, use ones with approximately a 7-centimetre diameter.

Step 3: Place the cookies 1-2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. The cookies do not grow or rise much as they bake, so they do not need to be placed very far apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until they are firm and the undersides are golden-brown.

Step 4: After letting the cookies cool for at least 10 minutes, ice the cookies. You can add sprinkles or coconut if you like. It’s up to you; get creative! For the icing, use 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar, a tablespoon of butter, and a little bit of milk. Add the milk in small portions so that the icing doesn’t get too runny! If it does, just add more icing sugar.

Your cookies are now complete! I hope you enjoyed this cookie recipe!

If you want a downloadable copy of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for reading!

Susan

Forged in Flames

Life sure was more complicated now than wehen they were little kids.

Hello! Today I will be blogging about a Christian book trilogy called Forged in Flames, by Susan Reimer. First, I will give you some genral information:

  • Author: Susan Reimer
  • Genre: Christian fiction
  • Age: 12+
  • Please note: These books contain elements of drug addiction, bullying, and alchohol, as well as strong Christian elements.

Forged in Flames is a book series for young adults that consists of three books: EmbersA Spark of Faith, and Through the Fire. It is written by Susan Reimer. Forged in Flames is a Christian series that teaches readers to have faith in God and learn to follow him. Each contains a study on a book of the Bible in the back that is explained throughout the book in a fictional youth group. This religious element can be relied on, becaus Susan Reimer is a former youth group leader and each book has been edited thrououghly for accuracy in accordance to the Bible.

In the first book, Embers, you learn about Peter Xavier, a boy starting grade eleven. As his life continues, the problems of drug addiction, death, and agruments invade his life, and he must find faith and trust in God to help him through the obstacles that have been placed in front of him.

In the second book, A Spark of Faith, you learn what it’s like to live as Alex Smiley, one of Peter’s friends from the firtst book. Because he is diagnosed with Down syndrome, Alex finds the restrictions of the syndrome begin to increase as his friends move on in life. Alex must have faith in God as he learns that everyone is fearfuly and wonderfully made in their own way.

In the third and final book, Through the Fire, you follow Joey Floretti, Peter and Alex’s friend. As the graduation of grade twelves slowly nears, he finds himself struggling to make the right choices. While he appreciates his father and his garage, Joey knows that’s not what he wants and starts to resort to bad ways to earn money. Through his late grandfather’s diary and the local youth group, he learns that it is better to do what it right than what is easy, and learns to connect with God and find his purpose in life.

These books are all enjoyable reads, but I find Through the Fire the best. Perhaps that is because Joey is going through normal teenage struggles, as not everyone has Down syndrome or has a family member suffering from drug addiction. Joey finds his own struggles that many other adolescents face. These books make more sense if they are read in order, as minor connections take place, but because each is about someone else, it is not absoloutely necessary.

If you are looking for inspirational Christian writing that really helps you connect with the characters and the Lord, then you will enjoy these books!

If you want more information on this book, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Cats are Wonderful

I believe that cats are the best pets anyone could ask for. They are smart and affectionate, making them intelligent beings with a personality.  Other pets are nice, too, and each fulfills a different need, but cast are simply dreamy. I love my cat, Bedhead, because of his intelligence, caution, enormous appetite, love, affection, and laziness. While he can be a bother when he is screaming for food, there is nearly nothing better than to hold him in my arms and listen to his calm, content purr.

One reason I find cats wonderful is how affectionate they are. Rubbing their lips on you is them saying “you are mine” and shows how they love you and understand your bond with them. Have you ever been holding your cat, and it suddenly starts digging its claws into you rhythmically? This is called kneading. Kneading shows pure contentedness, and while is may hurt, take it as a compliment. If you have a cat that lives outdoors, you may notice that it leaves deceased small animals lying around, or even drop one at your feet. Even these small ‘gifts’ are brought to you out of love. Every time your cat brings you a dead bird or rodent, they are showing you their hard work and seem to say, “aren’t you proud of me?” Cats’ soft fur, rumbling purr, and crazy flexibility (a cat’s spine has extra rotation and elastic cushioning on the spine’s disk, making them more flexible than most animals) make them the ultimate teddy bears which lets you express your love for them when you snuggle them in your arms.

Another reason I think cats are great is their intelligence. Cats are extremely smart, which is one reason they are such excellent hunters, and also makes their companionship more believable. When I take my cat for walks in my backyard trails, he often takes shortcuts. When he does this, he makes careful calculations and plans precisely when and where he wants to meet up with me. I will walk down my trails and suddenly stumble upon him, with a smug look on his face, knowing that I would come there and that he would be there to meet me. Another outcome of cats’ intelligence is that they are cautious. They have incredible instincts. In order to befriend a cat, you must earn its trust, Cats won’t suddenly decide to trust you; you must prove to them that you care for them before they will decide you worthy of their friendship.

Yet other pets can be enjoyable, as well. Dogs, the second most popular pet in Canada, are loyal to a fault, and you can be sure that they will always support you. Hamsters, guinea pigs, and other small mammals are tiny enough to be held in your hand or keep in a pocket, which makes them incredibly adorable. Some pets, like fish, are nice for a simple companionship, too, if all you want is another living presence nearby. Others, such as parrots and other tropical birds, can add some change to your day with squawks and a few English words. Some people who want robust or loyal pet might not want a cat, because cats, unlike dogs, want you to please them, not the other way around.

However, I believe cats are the best. Each feline has its own voice and its own personality. They beat all for being the cuddliest. They are very smart, and if you treat them right, you will receive from them a quality companionship that lasts a lifetime.

REFERENCES

Works Cited

Inn, The Cats. Why Are Cats So Flexible?: The Cats Inn. 15 Jan. 2019, www.catsinn.com/why-are-cats-so-flexible/.

“Facts about Pet Ownership in Canada.” PetBacker Blog, 1 Jan. 1967, www.petbacker.com/blog/facts/facts-about-pet-ownership-in-canada.

Newman, Aline Alexander, and Gary Weitzman. How to Speak Cat: a Guide to Decoding Cat Language. Collins, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.

If you are interested in learning more about cats, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Plastic Canvas

Hello! Today I will be blogging about plastic canvas. Plastic canvas a plastic grid that you buy in sheets. It can be used to create many fun crafts. Using yarn, plastic canvas, and a blunt needle, you can create many fun toys or trinkets.

During lockdown this spring, I used plastic canvas as a keep-me-busy hobby. I ended up making about sixty creations, one a day. I planned to sell them, but all craft sales were closed. Now, I keep them in a box under my bed to give away as small last-minute gifts.

Plastic canvas can be used to make keychains, bookmarks, doll bags, coasters, or fun toys called Squeeze ‘Ems. Squeeze ‘Ems are made of three plastic canvas squares stitched together. Once you add eyes and a nose, you can squeeze the jaws of the Squeeze ‘Em to make it talk or eat. Bookmarks, keychains and coasters simply need to be filled and bordered with yarn, and doll bags consist of rectangles stitched together.

Plastic canvas is fun, creative, and inspiring for the imagination. You can stitch stripes, polka-dots, and letters. I find it a great craft useful for long afternoons and small gifts.

If you would like to purchase plastic canvas, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan