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

Sewing Tips

Hello! Today I will be blogging about easy ways to make any sewing project easier. I hope you will find them helpful in your next project, whether it be doll’s clothes or a patchwork quilt.

  1. Start big. If you are creating your own sewing pattern, always make the pieces slightly bigger than necessary. You always don’t want to forget seam allowances, but even then, make sure you oversize it. If you end of with a finished product that is too small, you will have to start all over again. But if you make the pieces too large, then they might be just the right size, or if they are too big, you can always make them smaller.
  2. Use sewing patterns. Even if you find a pattern from some online blog, that person has had experience using those dimensions and knows what they’re doing. I find that if I create my own patterns, they often end up messy and unprofessional. Every sewing notions shop has many sewing patterns, too, that have been officially published and will work great! If you want a really professional article, then use a sewing pattern instead of inventing your own.
  3. Use matching thread. When you use a thread that stands otu against the fabric, the two might clash and create a sloppy-looking piece. This is not the case if you want something abstract or funky, where you want the thread to be different for the fabric. Another occasion where clashing thread is fine is when you are using a neutral material such as white, black, or grey, and want some colour in our article. However, if you want the piece to look uniform and smooth, make sure that the thread you’re sewing with is the same colour as the material. (This does not apply for seams, although you can do it if you want; no one will be seeing the inside of the piece anyway.)
  4. Add your personal touch. Everything always looks better if you add a little something unique. Besides choosing your own fabric, adding a ribbon, button, or embroidery to make it your own. I find that if I add my own personal touch, I am prouder of my finished piece because  no one made anything exactly the same.
  5. Pay attention to the grain. The grain of the fabric is the way the fabric stretches. If you are sewing a hoodie, you will want the grain of the fabric to stretch sideways for pulling it over your head. For some things, like coasters or bookmarks, you won’t need to pay attention to the grain. Some fabrics like cotton don’t have much stretch anyway. But for anything that requires stretch, make sure you pay attention to the grain line.

I hope these tips help you; I know they help me!

If you want to see my coaster tutorial, CLICK HERE. If you want to see my bookmark tutorial, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Muggles Mixed with Magic

         

            Hermione Granger broke the Horcrux. It hissed angrily. The golden cup had belonged to Helga Hufflepuff, one of the four founders of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hermione and her friend Ron Weasley were kneeling in the Chamber of Secrets while a ferocious battle raged above them. They had needed a Basilisk fang to destroy the goblet Lord Voldemort had turned into a horrible Horcrux.

Suddenly Harry Potter burst into the Chamber, wrapped in a bathrobe, wet with colourful bubbles clinging to him, like he had just come out of the Prefect’s bathroom. He was clutching a large, golden false egg.

“I can’t figure it out,” he said, frustrated. “I don’t understand what the egg means.”

Harry had gotten the egg from the Dursleys as a present for leaving their house. When he had brought it to Hogwarts, it had turned into a Portkey and led him to the merpeople.

Suddenly the egg burst open and let out a bout of ‘Weasley is Our King’:

Weasley is our king,

            He cannot block a single thing,

            That is why the Slytherins all sing,

            Weasley is our King.

            Soon Professor Slughorn walked up to Harry.

“I just love knitting,” he said.

Harry nodded and handed the professor the Elder Wand.

“Here, knit with this,” he said.

Slughorn took the wand, popped a Pepper Imp into his mouth, and walked away.

            Harry got up and stood among a crowd of Hogwarts students. They were looking at a crude sign painted in what looked like blood on the stone wall of the corridor. The words read:

DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY

Suddenly Hagrid jostled through the crowd and made his way to Harry.

“Yer a wizard, Harry!” he exclaimed, beaming cheerfully.

“Er … I know,” said Harry, quite confused.

He looked down and saw Scabbers the rat.

“Why, Scabbers!” he exclaimed.

Soon Scabbers transformed, his snout shortening and his tail thickening, into Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat. The cat hissed.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,” it said, and ran away.

Then Harry dipped his head into the Pensieve in front of him. The silvery liquid rippled as he entered a memory.

Harry gasped in astonishment. He saw himself and Ron’s sister Ginny riding together on a hippogriff. The hippogriff was flying through the starry night, with an hourglass attached to a chain around its feathery neck.

The memory-Harry and Ginny leaned toward each other, and kissed.

Suddenly memory-Ginny turned into Draco Malfoy, Harry’s archenemy. They were flying on broomsticks through the Quidditch field.

“Hey, Potter, bet you can’t catch that Hungarian Horntail,” he said.

Harry lifted his head out of the Pensieve and turned to Ron.

“Ready?” he asked.

Ron nodded.

They shifted their trolleys. Harry’s pet phoenix, Fawkes, squawked in his cage and sang a long, sorrowful song.

“One … two … three!” Ron shouted, counting down.

They ran into the wall between platforms nine and ten, and disappeared.

 

            And the moral of this story is: do not read a book series out of order, or you will find yourself hopelessly confused.

If you want more creative Harry Potter ideas, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

Wearing Face Masks

Hello! Today I am going to blog about wearing masks. For those of you who protest against them, you may want to stop reading, for this is not a rant, but a supportive argument to wearing masks. During this pandemic, I believe they are very helpful.

I am very glad to wear masks. During the summer, my family and I did not have masks yet, and I felt very vulnerable when I went in any big store. I was glad, and still am, that masks are mandatory in my school.

I sewed our own masks so that my family did not have to buy them. I looked through many mask patterns, and a friend told me about a great mask pattern from Twig + Tale. Twig + Tale is a sewing community website with many great sewing patterns, including the one for their masks. There are two versions of face masks you can sew: pleated and panel. I sewed the panel mask because of its nice fit and easier instructions. However, the pleated one works well, too. But instead of using elastic loops or fabric ties, I sewed a long length of bias tape to the mask and fit a small bead on, to make an adjustable ear-loop. I also included a nose wire to make it fitting for those, like me,  who wear glasses. These masks are shown in the picture at the top of my post.

It frustrates me when people do not wear masks properly. When I see people wearing their mask under their nose, I almost want to go and shove it above. Sometimes I wonder if people can be so ignorant to not know that if you wear your face mask below your nose it does absolutely nothing.

There is an abundance of science-proved evidence that wearing a mask reduces the spread of COVID-19. When you talk, you release small droplets that span a range of 2 metres, thus the social distancing rules. “Surgical masks and cloth coverings can reduce viral transmission by 70% if everyone wears them and wears them correctly over [their] nose and mouth.” If you wear a mask, you reduce the spread of your saliva and the possible viruses contained within.

Coronavirus is literally taking over the world, and if you want to be able to go to restaurants, get manicures, and throw large parties, the sooner you wear a mask, the sooner those events will be able to happen. I don’t know about you, but I want this pandemic to end.

If you want to buy your own face masks so that you can feel safe and help others feel safe, CLICK HERE.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan

“Healthifying” Baked Goods

Hello! Today I will be blogging about how to make your baked goods, such as cookies, muffins, and biscuits, healthier. I grew up doing this, and it creates delicious baked treats guilt-free, because you don’t have to worry about the weight you’re putting on, but rather feel great about all the healthy nutrients you are filling your body with.

It is very easy to ‘healthify’ baked goods. Just follow the recommendations below:

  • For every twelve servings, it is a good idea to add 1/4 cup of flaxseed.
  • Also switch white flour to brown flour, or at least half it.
  • Another way to make your treats healthier is to use only brown sugar, and not white.

Of course, you don’t want to do this for everything. If you are baking a birthday cake or a different celebratory treat, you will want to stick to the recipe. But if you feel like baking casual muffins, it is a great idea to make your snacks healthier.

The picture at the top of my post is of a healthified chocolate zucchini muffin. When I baked these, I added 1/4 cup flax, switched the flour to brown flour, and used only brown sugar. I also halved the chocolate chips. Of course, there is also a 1 1/2 cups of grated zucchini in there, as well. In spite of all this, I can’t tell the difference and feel like I’m eating a chocolate cake every time I bite into one.

If you are a stickler for eating healthy, just add some flax and use brown ingredients. It’s easy, healthy, and still delicious.

If you want the recipe I used for the zucchini muffins, CLICK HERE. Please note that the recipe I used is not already healthified, you will have to do it yourself.

Feel free to comment. Thank you for reading!

Susan