Monthly Archives: April 2018

Home made Canadian Maple syrup

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Home made Canadian Maple syrup

I am very proud to be Canadian. I am proud of our country and people, and I am proud of what we are known for… you know, stuff like Mounties, moose, beavers and maple syrup….

So, to keep those stereotypes alive, I decided that I should learn how to make my own maple syrup, like a good Canadian! I tried once before a couple years ago, (I think I might have blogged about it too) and since I bought all the maple syrup-ing gear and high tech equipment, I might as well put it to good use. Btw, the gear I am referring to is a bucket, a tap and a plastic tube.

The photo above is the tree on our front lawn. Since all of my neighbours think I am a little crazy anyways, there’s no need to hide my syrup making operation from anyone. 🙂

Here’s the process. Drill a hole in the tree, about three feet up, close to two inches deep. I used a 7/16 drill bit.

You basically keep drilling until the sawdust starts to get wet and mushy. When you remove the drill bit, if the sap starts dripping, it’s ready to put a tap in it. You can kind of see in the photo below.

Btw, the white stringy stuff you can see isn’t mold, it’s actually just spiderwebs left over from last years Halloween decorations…

You know you have drilled to the right depth when the sap starts running down the bark of the tree. When that happens, use a hammer to gently tap the spigot or tap in.

Then, connect the hose to the tap, and make sure the other end is going right into the bucket. You should be able to see it running.

I found that the most sap is collected late morning to the afternoon. Overnight, the sap slows down a little, I guess because it gets below freezing most nights.

Here are the first few drops. It looks like it is going to take weeks and weeks, but it is surprising how quickly it accumulates!

I also tapped the maple tree in our backyard. Every day, I would say I collected anywhere between 10-15 cups of sap. Every night, I put the sap in a saucepan and let it simmer until it was about 50% of its volume, then I cooled it and stored it in the fridge until the end of the week, when I made the syrup.

Now for the exciting part…. watching a pot boil for hours and hours! There is absolutely nothing difficult about making maple syrup. It does not require any skill, talent or knowledge… just a lot of time.

I started with about half a saucepan, let it boil, and kept adding more sap as it boiled down. You must have an exhaust fan running, because this generates a lot of moisture in your house!

I have no idea if there is a more scientific way to tell, but I figured my maple syrup was done when it is the thickness of maple syrup. It turned out a lovely amber colour. It’s amazing how sweet it is!

So, I’m not sure exactly how much sap I started with, but I read online that it has to reduce 40 times to make syrup! So make sure you scrape every drop of that syrup out of the pot!

Not sure if I’m going to do it again, when I add up the cost, including electricity, it’s probably ten times what it costs to buy. However the cost of saying you made you own maple syrup….priceless!

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New lining for my new Louis Vuitton Purse!!

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New lining for my new Louis Vuitton Purse!!

I haven’t been keeping up with writing lately, but I’m going to make more of an effort, I promise. I am still so impressed at how many people are still reading my blog every month. Also, my camera roll is full of pictures I keep taking of projects, and can’t yet erase because I haven’t written about them yet! So, I’m going to start by sharing my latest sewing project.

I have always wanted a Louis Vuitton purse, but unfortunately, the $2000 and up price tag was a little too much… it’s hard to justify spending what could be a family vacation on a purse! Besides, if John ever found out I spent thousands on a purse, a divorce would be even more expensive!! Ha ha ha…

I frequently see Vuitton purses being sold, but always for more than I ever wanted to pay for a purse. Soooo, one night on eBay, I came across a pretty amazing discovery. The Louis Vuitton bucket purses have a pretty huge design flaw… the lining deteriorates, peels, and gets all sticky! Which is pretty weird for a purse that costs thousands! Anyways, one night I stayed up watching a couple of the online auctions, and I bought a purse for $75US!! (Ok… $75 plus $30 shipping, but still!) Here is the listing

As you can see in the photos above and below, the outside of the purse is in amazing condition, below, the lining is in pretty bad condition. It was actually pretty gross.

I read some blogs online and watched a few videos saying you can use baby powder to reduce the stickiness, or you can actually scrub the sticky parts off… I tried both and made a really gross mess. I even tried a magic eraser.

It did remove some of the sticky film, but there was still way too much to remove. It was messy, gross, and really didn’t work. So, I gave up and I cut out the lining and trimmed around the leather details on the pockets and the tag with the serial number. I cut about an inch down from the rim of the purse, leaving a but of the old lining around the top edge, and trimmed as close as I could to the leather parts.

Then I roughly cut out the pieces needed for the lining and pockets. I ended up using a beige ultra suede fabric… it is actually leftover fabric from when I reupholstered our dining room chairs lol.

I started with sewing the pockets. I cut a slit where I wanted the pocket to be, cutting it about 1/2 inch shorter than the opening. Then, I cut a Y on either end, extending to the width of the opening. If you want to watch some YouTube videos with clearer instructions, it is called a welt pocket.

Then I pinned the lining of the pocket to the opening and wrapped the pocket around the lining to pin the other side. I sewed both sides. Sorry, it’s really hard to explain. I hope the pictures explain better!

The next step was to flip it inside out. The picture below shows what the pocket looked like from the right side.

Then, I played around with it so that the pocket laid flat, and I was happy with the size and shape. To hold the corners in place, I folded the fabric and pinned, then sewed the corners down. Once again, the pictures hopefully will make it easier to understand.

I repeated this for both pockets on either side of the purse. I have to admit that my second pocket worked out a whole lot better than the first pocket. The good part about that was that I put the zippered pocket on top of the pocket that I wasn’t as happy with! Lol.

Here’s the part that wasn’t so much fun…Hand stitching the leather details back on. I made the decision to keep the original yellow stitching because I thought it would look more authentic… plus I didn’t have any really thick yellow thread! So I pinned it in place and stitched in every other hole…I really should have taken a pic to show my fingertips after sewing this… next time I will use a thimble!

So I took the picture above from really close, but my stitching is not that noticeable.

Once the pockets were in, I sewed the side seams together, and pinned and sewed the bottom.

I left a little gap in the seam for the tag and number, and hand sewed it in. Then, I flipped it inside out, folded over the edge, and hand stitched it to the little bit of lining I left in the purse using a blind stitch. I didn’t want to have to replace or sew the leather on the rim of the purse. By that time, I had enough of sewing leather! I didn’t take a picture of how much of the original lining I left in, but you can see a little in the below photo.

So, here are a few pictures of the final purse…

I am so thrilled with the result! It took a lot of time, but well worth it! I’ve got a lot of comments already! Hope I didn’t make it seem too easy… I don’t want too much competition on any future ebay auctions! I’ll be honest here too… I already ordered another one.