Stuffed Peppers

Standard
Stuffed Peppers

So many things going on, so little time – I am busy making stuff all of the time, but just haven’t been doing enough writing! The good news is that I have no shortage of things to write about! Anyways, I think I will share a recipe today….
I have made various versions of this a few times. What I like about the recipe is that it can be made ahead of time, is an entire dinner, and it makes great left overs, so I always make a huge batch. I haven’t put any measurements in because quite honestly, I didn’t measure anything! It is not the kind of recipe that you need to measure…and substitutions work great too! Use whatever you have in the fridge!
I decided to make these because we had a pile of red peppers in the fridge that needed to be eaten.
So I washed them all, cut them in half and removed the seeds.

20141009-200204.jpg
I browned some ground chicken in a frying pan, and mixed it with some leftover rice, and some left over brocolli. (corn is also good too)

20141012-162654.jpg
Then, I made a couple boxes of stuffing, and mixed everything together…

20141012-162748.jpg
I added some greek seasoning, a bit of salt, and a couple eggs to hold it all together. Than, I spooned it into the red pepper shells.

20141012-162930.jpg

20141012-162943.jpg
I sprinkled the tops with some cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.

20141012-163031.jpg

20141012-163041.jpg
I popped them in the oven at about 360 degrees for about 1/2 hour.

20141012-163207.jpg

20141012-163217.jpg
If I do say so myself, they were pretty good. They are healthy, low in fat, and contain all four food groups. They were just as good for lunch the next day and I put half of them in the freezer for later… yummy!

About these ads

What to do with all of those tiny toys?

Standard
What to do with all of those tiny toys?

After sorting out all of our toy boxes and the kids rooms, I was amazed at the pile of tiny toy pieces that we ended up with. Some of them were toy parts, some were freebees, and some I swear I have never seen before! I had them all bagged up, ready to donate, when I saw a fantastic idea!
Why can’t I make all of these little pieces into an Eye Spy game? I have these Eye Spy books at school that the kids love, so I thought, why not make a real life one? I am always looking for quiet activities for the kids at school.
Once again, my hoarding tendencies have paid off, because I have carefully washed and saved every sushi platter we have ever ordered! I had this huge party sized platter just waiting for a project like this! It even has a clear lid so the kids can’t pick off the toys.

20141012-155315.jpg
So I gathered up all of the little toys…

20141012-155344.jpg
I got out my glue gun, and started gluing! I started with the larger pieces. I had to make sure all of the toys were small enough so the lid would close.

20141012-155536.jpg

20141012-155545.jpg
So after I glued all of toys down, I picked off all of the glue gun threads. I was pretty surprised how well the glue gun glue held everything down.
Then, I glued the lid down, so no little fingers are tempted to pick any of the toys off.

20141012-155851.jpg

20141012-155857.jpg
Then, I took the tray to the computer and typed out a few lists of things to hunt for. When I ran out of ideas, I listed things like 4 things that start with s, and 3 yellow things.
Here is the finished product. I think the kids at school are going to love it!

20141012-160056.jpg

20141012-160102.jpg

20141012-160110.jpg

Kitchen Table and chairs

Standard
Kitchen Table and chairs

I can’t believe that it is almost October! It been a while since I have posted, but I have been busy! Just haven’t had time to write.
So I thought today I would share our kitchen table and chairs update! We bought this set when we bought our house, but now, five years later, the chairs are ripping and worn. We never used the table top without glass, because the veneer was so thin, and the finger prints on the glass were driving me crazy! So… time for an update!
I tried listing the set on Kijiji a couple times, but, no takers… Here is what it looked like when I listed it:

20140822-231745.jpg

20140822-231818.jpg
My plan was to sell the whole set and buy a new one, but, then look what I found!
Check out these chairs that I got for $5.99 each! Yes, that’s right, five dollars and ninety-nine cents! Needless to say, I bought all 6 of them that they were selling.

20140914-212749.jpg

20140914-212806.jpg
So, I decided to get rid of our old chairs, and repaint the new old chairs, but keep the old table. And… since I still had the paint I used for my other furniture, why not use it? I started by giving everything a light sand. John helped and it didn’t take that long, we used out little mouse sander. We didn’t remove all of the paint or varnish, we just made sure we removed the shine off the top.

20140928-090439.jpg
And the table…

20140928-090944.jpg
Then we used a little bit of water and an old rag to wipe everything down to get off some of the dust.

20140928-091148.jpg
Then, It took three coats of the white paint to cover everything, so it didn’t look patchy. To antique it a little, I used a really fine sandpaper and sanded the edges. I sanded where I thought it would get worn anyways. That’s the great thing about antiquing, you don’t have to worry as much about it getting worn! The design of the table means that every time someone pushes in a chair, it bumps into one of the posts of table. So, it was areas like that as well as the edges of the table, and the tops of the chair that I sanded and antiqued.

20140928-092603.jpg

20140928-092638.jpg
Then, what I did is add a little line of stain in the cracks with a fine brush, and I wiped off the excess with a paint rag.

20140928-191037.jpg

20140928-191424.jpg

20140928-191450.jpg
So I finished the rest of the chairs and table the same way, sanding, and staining, then wiping off the stain. Anywhere there was a crack or join, I added a little stain or sanded. I also recovered the chairs. They were recovered in a brown suede, and plastic, I just stapled the new material on top…I’ll post another day about recovering chairs, but it is pretty simple.

20140928-191634.jpg
Here is what the set looks like finished…

20140928-191802.jpg

20140928-191831.jpg
I have to be honest here, I did run into to snag at the very end. I thought that I would add a coat of varnish just to the table top to seal the paint. I tried with a varnish spray, but it ended up looking all patchy. Then I tried a paint on varnish, and it still looked patchy. I thought I was going to have to sand it down and start again, but I tried putting the old piece of glass on top, and it worked great. You can’t see any of the imperfections, and it protects the table too… and no more sanding, yahoo
I really like the look of the lighter furniture, I thing it brightens up the kitchen.
Now, I still have a half of a can of paint….what else can I paint???

Making Pillows to match my brand new couch!

Standard

Hope everyone is enjoying the second day back to school… only 294 days left until summer next year! I am actually looking forward to this school year. I will try to remember to share some of the stuff I am working on at school in my library!
But first, I am going to try to catch up on writing about some of the projects we worked on this summer…
Since painting the fireplace and family room, we were working on getting the rest of the room done. We got our new couch delivered, and the walls and fireplace are all painted. We are still waiting on one more piece of furniture from the states to be shipped in… can’t wait to show it to you!
So, while we were waiting, I dug up some scraps of fabric I had left over from a duvet cover I have been working on. And I found a few old pillows I bought a while ago…

20140807-202841.jpg
I am sure I had a plan for the pillows when I bought them, but the hot pink covers just have’t fit in with any of my colour choices so far.
So, they were the perfect choice to recover. I started by tracing the outline of the pillow on a paper and then divided it into quarters, and added a little seam allowance on each side…

20140807-203023.jpg
I found four different fabrics that I liked, and cut out eight quarters from each.

20140807-203211.jpg

20140807-203225.jpg
Next, I sewed all of the quarters together and pressed the seams open. I have found that pressing the seams open makes a big difference in the finished product.

20140807-203359.jpg
Then, to make the sides of the pillows, I tightened the tension on my machine and sewed down either side of a four inch strip of fabric to gather it a little. I did enough to go around all four pillows.

20140807-212046.jpg
A few months ago, I bought about 20 yards of cording on sale, for a really good reason that I just can’t remember right now (notice a pattern here?) anyways, boy am I glad I did, because if there is one thing I have learned about recovering uphostry, or pillows is that it always looks better with piping.
Then, I sewed one side of the pillow to the side panel, and put the piping in the middle.
Like this…

20140808-215138.jpg

20140808-215159.jpg
And this is what the seam looked like right side out…

20140808-214942.jpg
Once I had sewn both sides of the pillow to the side panels, I left a few inches open, squeezed my ugly pillows inside and hand stitched the openings closed.

20140808-215640.jpg
My sewing machine wouldn’t sew over the cording, so I had to figure out how to join the two ends without leaving them raw, because the cording unravels very easily.
So I folded over the edges of a small rectangle of fabric and glued it to the join with a glue gun. Then, I hand stitched the rest of the opening closed.

20140808-215936.jpg

20140808-215945.jpg
And, here is how they turned out. I love the colours, and I like the shape
They have already come in handy. They are great pillows for the kids to sit on the floor, because I won’t them eat on my new couch…lol…

20140810-175413.jpg

Teachers Pay Teachers!

Standard

I discovered this website a couple months ago, and it is fantastic! Teachers Pay Teachers is a website where teachers can post lessons, posters, or worksheets they have developed, and sell them. I love it because you can list something that is one or two pages and charge $1.00. In order to begin selling, you also have to post something for free, so there are tonnes of free resources too! So, I have slowly started listing stuff (I think I have 6 or 7 things listed now), and I am really excited about it! I have been teaching now for over 15 years, and I have boxes and boxes of stuff that I could list! I just have to get around to scanning all of it, and posting it.

So, I thought I would share the link, for all of you teachers out there!

Link to Artzcool’s Store on Teachers pay Teachers

Let me know what you think!

20140825-134056.jpg

A Dry Basement?? I think so…

Standard

In every house that I have ever lived in, we have had a leaky basement. I don’t understand why this is such an issue for so many houses! Since about to weeks after we moved into this house, our basement has leaked in at least five different places…numerous times… not including when the sewer backed up. (That was a lot of fun, let me tell you)

We have tried digging up from the outside and patching the leaks, we have patched from the inside, and yes, we even hired someone to fix the leaks…. but somehow, the water keeps coming in…

Luckily, the water up until now was coming in from the unfinished part of our basement, but, when the water started coming in again this spring in came in from the finished part, so….I did what any intelligent educated woman would do… I took a hammer to the drywall! This is what the wall looked like when I was finished with it…

20140820-223035.jpg

There was a whole lot of mould and water damage, so we decided that the framing had to go too. So, my lovely and willing assistant, no, I mean my skilled and handsome husband, ripped it out. (Thanks honey!)
Here is what one of the cracks we found looks like…yes, there was more than one, but this was the big one. You can see in the photo that someone has already tried to patch it.

20140820-223955.jpg

So, we took a few days to look into some different products. (OK, OK, we left it a couple months, but who’s counting?) But, in the meantime, a friend told me about this product and it sounded pretty good, so we thought we would give it a try…

20140820-215946.jpg
Is is a two part product by Sika called an Injection Repair Kit. The way it works is that you chisel out the crack, attach these tubes or nipples over the crack, parge over everything, then inject the expanding foam into the tubes.

So, out came the chisel, and we started hammering. I would also recommend some earplugs and eye protection. It was loud, and there were pieces of cement flying everywhere. But, we chipped out the crack so it was exposed and then used a wire brush to clean out the crack.

20140820-224711.jpg
Now, I consider myself to be pretty handy, but unfortunately, I can’t hammer if my life depended upon it. It takes me about 20 hits to hammer in a nail, and I only hit the nail half the time! So, after hammering for half an hour, this is what my thumb looked like:

20140822-222936.jpg
Don’t worry, I’m OK, once again, my incredibly coordinated husband came to the rescue and finished the job!
So, the next step was to attach the tubes, we used a glue gun to attach them to the wall. We place them about about 6-8 inches apart.

20140822-223637.jpg
The next step was to parge around each tube, but I was a little worried that the cement would block the holes, so I stuck some paintbrushes in each hole, to keep the holes open. We also wet the wall at this point because the expandable foam only works when it comes in contact with water.

20140822-224009.jpg
Then we used the cement that came with the kit to parge over the tubes. I just mixed a couple tablespoons at a time, because it sets really fast.

20140822-224235.jpg
Once the cement set (the kit said to leave for 1/2 hour), we took out the brushes that were blocking the holes. The expandable foam that came with the kit works with a caulking gun. You simply insert it into each tube and squeeze until it drips out. The kit came with plugs to put in each tube to stop it from dripping.

20140822-224900.jpg

20140822-224919.jpg
It worked amazing! The foam even expanded to the outside of the house. When I went outside to check, the foam had expanded so much it was coming out the outside of the house.
I have to say, so far, so good. It has rained twice since we repaired the crack, and not a drop of water!
We are working up the courage to turn on the hose on the outside of the house to test how well it worked. I’ll let you know!

Making a rug out of old t-shirts

Standard
Making a rug out of old t-shirts

A couple of weeks ago, John and I did a sort of our closets, and we ended up donating a few bags of stuff to the drop box. But when I saw the lovely selection of various shades of blue t-shirts he was getting rid of, I just had to pull them from the donate pile…really I am not a hoarder, I just have a bit of a problem getting rid of old stuff that can be used to make cool new stuff.
So I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make, but I had to justify my hoarding like tendencies to John, so I had to make something ASAP.
I thought that I would start by making the t-shirts into some yarn, and I would figure out the rest as I went along. I started by cutting the t-shirt apart right under the arm pits, and cut the bottom hem off.

20140802-145903.jpg
Next I cut through the t-shirt from one side into strips about an inch wide. Be careful not to cut right through to the other side, stop cutting about 3 inches away from the other seam.

20140802-150136.jpg

20140802-150149.jpg
Now. readjust the shirt so that the uncut part is facing up and you have opened up the fold. You can put a piece of cardboard or paper in between the layers to make sure you don’t cut through.

20140802-150422.jpg
Cut in from the side at an angle so you cut apart the first strip

20140802-150530.jpg
Then cut the next strip parallel to the first strip…

20140802-150617.jpg

20140802-150704.jpg
When you get to the last strip, you will end up with an upside down Y like this…

20140802-150754.jpg
Cut down the middle of the Y to taper off the end of your yarn…

20140802-150853.jpg
Now, like magic, you have one big pile of yarn!

20140809-072103.jpg
The funnest part about making t-shirt yarn is stretching the yarn. The material that t-shirts are made of is knit, so it doesn’t unravel when you cut it, but if you stretch it, it curls up. The convenient thing about the way it curls (if you happen to be cutting up t-shirts to make recycled yarn) is that it curls so the t-shirt is right side in. Why is that convenient, you ask? Because most of the stuff that is printed or written on the front of the t-shirt won’t show. Anyways, all you have to do is take a small section at a time and pull it apart, it stretches to about three times the size. It is fun to do, and the kids love helping with this part.
You can see in the photo that I have stretched the pile on the right.

20140809-072005.jpg
So from here, you could make a whole bunch of things…..a rug, baskets, a recycled bag, stuffed animals… you could make whatever you could crochet. However, this batch of yarn ended up pretty thick, so I decided to make a rug.
I started by trying to make a rectangular rug..

20140809-072437.jpg
But, when I ran out of tshirts, it didn’t look finished, it was a little out of proportion. This rug you see in the picture took about 7 tsirts. So, I ripped it out and made an oval design. I used a single crochet for the whole thing.
I ended up “finding” 5 extra t-shirts (sssssshhhhh, John will never know) And here is what about 12 t-shirts made:

20140809-072634.jpg
I think after I sort out Sam’s closet, I will try to make a pink one!
Can’t wait to show everyone photos of our new family room!