Month: August 2013

Sugar & spice

flavoured sugarHappy Friday peeps! Who’s ready for the long weekend? How about a little project to kick it off? Flavoured sugar is a thing. It’s recommended for coffee…..so I’m in! I’ve seen suggestions for lavender, lemon, orange, even rose flavours but I stick to spices. Vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. As well as stirring them in coffee and tea, use them instead of regular sugar in recipes for scones, muffins and pies. Wake up your taste buds and try ’em with me!¬†Gather a few canning jars or other air tight glass containers and white sugar. I used small-ish jars that hold almost 2 cups.
flavoured sugarVanilla: open a vanilla bean and scoop the seeds into a jar. Add the pods and top with sugar. Gently shake then leave for a week or more. Enjoy this one in coffee, cupcakes and on grapefruit. Mmm.

Cinnamon: measure 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon into a jar. Add 1-2 cinnamon sticks and fill with sugar. Shake this one well to evenly distribute. So good in oatmeal cookies or sprinkled on porridge.

Cardamom: place 1/3 cup whole cardamom seeds into a jar and top with sugar. Yummy in apple crisp.
flavoured sugarLet them sit for a week or two to get the full flavour infusion. Then top up your jars with more white sugar as they start to get low. Store each for up to 1 year. Sweet and spicy….yum!

Vintage pyrex – thrift find

vintage pyrex cleaningOne of the highlights of my Island hop last weekend was visiting an amazing little thrift shop called Nu-To-Yu. It’s impossible to describe the chaos, beauty and value of this treasure trove. I actually got a bit overwhelmed. This tiny shop on a tiny island has the best stuff at unbelievable prices: mugs for 5 cents, records for 10 cents, clothes for $1. It’s crazy fun! I’d like to share my favourite find…a pyrex casserole dish with glass lid.
cleaning vintage pyrex

A bit worn and very dirty but the gold pattern hooked me. I hadn’t seen this design before and discovered it’s ‘Golden Tulip’, a promotional item that dates back to 1959 (thanks Pyrex Love). Woot!
Now to clean it! I researched, experimented and combined what info I found and am here to tell you it’s totally worth the time and elbow grease to revive. Here’s what I did:

  1. Soaked both pieces in the sink with very hot water and Dawn dishwashing soap (which I had on hand) for a few hours to loosen the crud
  2. Gently scrubbed with a Mr. Clean magic eraser (also had on hand) and boy those things sure deserve their name!
  3. On stubborn, stuck on grime, I scoured with Bar Keepers Helper ($2 at Target) but I was careful not to use this on the actual gold pattern in case it would scratch
  4. Got into crevices with a bamboo skewer, a toothbrush would be good too

All the articles I read agreed on these DON’Ts:

  1. do not put in dishwasher
  2. do not use an abrasive cleaner such as Comet
  3. do not heat in the oven to try to loosen grime
  4. do not use any harsh chemicals

cleaning vintage pyrex

vintage pyrex cleaningNot spotless but I’m pretty happy with the results, which took about an hour. I didn’t waste effort on the glass lid as it has several chips and is a common size. I’ll find a replacement for it that’s in better shape. Did you catch the price of this gem in the ‘before’ photos?….50 cents! How could I go wrong?

Just right cut-offs

DIY cut-offsThe night before I was leaving on a little Island getaway I realized I didn’t have the perfect shorts for the trip. This actually happens to me often. Fortunately it was easily remedied this time once I decided cut-offs were needed. Sturdy, comfy, casual but a bit stylish (oh, did I push it with that last bit?). I dug to the back of my closet and hacked up the ideal pair. All you need to do this yourself is a pair of old jeans, a ruler, pencil, scissors and 10 minutes. There are 2 key factors to getting your cut-offs just right:

  1. Start with jeans that are a size or two big for you, boyfriend style or literally men’s jeans are great.
  2. Cut on a slight slant starting with the inseam being the longest and tapering up to the outside of the leg being the shortest. More girly, more flattering, it works.

DIY cut-offsTurn jeans inside out and mark your cutting line with a pencil. Cut at the slight angle mentioned above. Turn right side out and try them on. Adjust length if needed. Lay cut leg on top of uncut leg lining up the waist and inseam. make your second cut using the first leg as your guide.
DIY cut-offsI used an old pair of thrifted Levi’s with a bit of distressing around the seams. I left it at that because I’m well over 40 and just don’t think I can pull off the distress trend! My first cut was a 4″ inseam but when I tried them on they were too long so I cut another inch off. Going for comfortably short without being cheeky (pun intended)!
Just right cut-offs For added softness and to get a good fray, I put them through the washer and dryer. Voila, a just right pair of cut-offs!