Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday - You'll need a tissue for this post!

My son was pretty proud of himself when he: 
1. Found the Kleenex box
2. Reached it & pulled it off the shelf
3. Pulled out tissue after tissue
4. Threw them everywhere 
5. Rolled in the tissues

Friday, 25 January 2013

A B C Friday is for Crazy Cats!

I have a neighbour cat, (the orange one) who visits almost daily on my deck, even in the coldest of weather, like today.  He comes to watch my 2 cats through the glass doors and he comes because I give him a few treats.  If he's feeling really greedy, he comes by twice and tries to get double the treats.  I hope I'm not contributing to his weight gain!

My Siamese, Sinatra is very territorial and usually reacts like in the video or howls and scrapes at the door.  My neighbour cat doesn't mind Sinatra's reaction and he still comes back day after day for treats!

Play the video below to see them at it!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Hanging a Map or Poster Inexpensively

Two things that I've always loved are traveling and geography. Over the last 10 years I've traveled to a number of places I've dreamed of traveling to since I was a child, like Europe. I love geography because you can learn so much about other countries and cultures. And I love maps for decorative purposes too.  Because of these reasons I wanted to decorate with a map, but not a overly colourful or childlike map, but one that could fit in with our existing decor.

I was lucky enough to track down a map style that I thought would look good on the wall of our living room.  The map had neutral colours and was designed by National Geographic and called "Executive style".  The problem was it was a huge map, over 70 inches by almost 50 inches!  How was I going to hang it and not "break the bank"?

I thought I'd at least get a price quote from a professional framer, so I waited for a sale that was 65% off and thought this was the best sale I was ever going to get, so I went in for an estimate.  Would you like to hazard a guess on the estimated price of a basic frame and mat for this map?  The price quote was $725!  I found a perfect map for under $50, but would have to spend $750 to display it?  I had to find another way.

I had an idea based on carpets and tapestries that are hung in museums.  I thought, why not come up with a way to hang this map similar to the way tapestries are hung.  After going for a walk through a home improvement store I came up with hanging the map on a drapery rod, with another smaller rod on the bottom so the map would stay unrolled.

The steps I followed to display the map are:

1. Hang up the drapery rod, like you would if you were hanging drapes.  I decided to hang the map in my dining room, because it went with the beige paint colour, the wall was large enough to display it and we could look at it while eating dinner!

Draper rod hung on the wall

2. Position the map on the ground facing down and secure the edges of it with something heavy at each end.

Map on the floor, stretched out and secured

3. Position the smaller rod at the bottom of the map, leaving enough space to roll it around the rod and tape it in place.  The purpose of the rod at the bottom of the map is to keep the map rolled and weighed down and not just hanging loosely.  Make sure that the map is secured around the rod straight so that it hangs neatly.

Wrapping the map around the smaller bottom rod

Taping the rod in place

4. Repeat this process in Step #3 at the top of the map.  Leave a little bit more room at the top of the map to wrap around the rod at the top because it is the drapery rod and is more wide.

Taping the top drapery rod in place

5. Hang the map by the top rod by carefully raising it up onto the rod hangers that were secured to the wall in Step #1.  Stand back and make sure that it is hung straight and centred along the rod, and also centred on your wall.  Now admire it!

The final map, hung on the wall

6. If you are just hanging a map or poster, than your work is done!  At this point I adhered small coloured stickers on the cities I've visited, so did my husband and we also put stickers on cities we visited together and the 2 cities we've visited so far with our son.  We used different coloured stickers to highlight each group of cities based on who visited them.

The map with stickers on visited cities

I think hanging a map or poster this way is more unique and interesting than always framing everything.  Similar to hanging art by just mounting the canvas, this let's the map or poster be the focal point and speak for itself.  An attractive frame isn't the main attraction, it's the map instead!  Also, this method of hanging a map or poster is far less costly than framing it professionally or framing it yourself.  Looking up at the map also never fails to cheer me up because it reminds me of all the places I've traveled and the great memories had on the trips.  It especially helps now because we're not traveling as much recently because my son's so young.  I hope you enjoy this project!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Jan. 16 - Boys & their remote controls

My son got lots of great fun and educational toys for Christmas.  He plays with some of them, but not for long.  What he loves to play with most is the TV remote control.  Anytime I put it down, he notices and crawls to it.  Now I try to hide it so he won`t grab it!

A new toy? For me?

What is this thing?

OMG! I get to control the TV with this?

Now I have to share my new toy...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mock Tiramisu - Easy, quick & with a few ingredients!

I came up with this recipe after the holidays because I had a few perishable ingredients in small quantities that I didn't have any regular use for.  I only use 35% cream in desserts and I only use Lady Finger cookies to make Tiramisu, not to eat as snack cookies....

So, to start with, do you have some leftover 35% whipping cream? First of all, poor you, (joking of course), I should say lucky you!  If you also have coffee or espresso, or a coffee liqueur, (depending on the day you're having) and cookies like either Lady Fingers or Nila wafers, that are hard cookies which easily sop up liquids.

If you have 5 minutes, you can make this into a great weeknight dessert.  I'm describing making single serving desserts, however you can follow this recipe and make it in a large bowl, just increase the ingredients appropriately.  

Ingredients (based on 1 single serving):

1/2 cup of 35% whipping cream
5-8 Lady Fingers or Nila wafers
1/2 tbs. of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla

1. Get a small ramekin or other dish and break the cookies if needed, in order to fit them in the dish, in one layer.  You'll need about 5-8 Lady Fingers depending on the size of your dessert bowl.

2. Pour over slightly cooled brewed coffee, espresso or coffee liqueur, about a couple of tablespoons.  Set aside to let the cookies absorb the liquid while you whip the cream in the next step.

3. Whip the whipping cream, by pouring 1 cup of 35% whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of powdered/confectioners sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.  To quickly make great whipped cream, put the mixing bowl and whisk in the fridge so they get really cold.  This will speed up the whipping process.

4. Spread a few tablespoons of the whipping cream over top.  Sprinkle on either cinnamon or cocoa powder.

5. Repeat the layers again - cookies, whipping cream, until you reach the top of the bowl.  Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.  Enjoy on a cold, gloomy winter day with a hot coffee, espresso or cappuccino!

Yah, me!  I published my first recipe! Enjoy!  You know I did! :)

Wordless Wednesday: My cats are not happy with me today!!

I admit it, I love having a fresh Christmas tree in the house.  So I usually get it later in December so  that I can keep it up until the first week of January.  My cats are happy with that arrangement also. They both like to sit under the tree because in the winter they don't get to go outside much, and my tabby also likes to drink from the tree.  At least they don't like playing with the ornaments....yet....

So when I took the tree down the cats weren't too happy.  Here's Cooper taking a last relaxing sit under the tree:

& here's Sinatra just getting mad...

& madder about the tree being taken down!!