Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tipsy Tuesday: Lavender Infused Gin

Hi All,

Today I have another guest post for Tipsy Tuesday! This one is from my friend Cael, and he made some lavender infused gin! - What is it with everyone around me infusing alcohol?- I need to drink with my friends more!

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This recipe has to be one of the easiest I've ever tried. All you need are a few common kitchen bits and bobs, your favourite bottle of gin (or vodka!) and some dried lavender. 

If you have access to locally grown herbs and flowers - then that is the way to go! There is truly nothing more relaxing than wandering through a lavender farm in full bloom on a sunny afternoon. 

If not, there are several venues online that cater specifically to the needs of do-it-yourself’ers everywhere, a couple of favourites are:  Atelier Emma Rose @ Etsy  and Weir's Lane Lavender & Apiary (Toronto- it's local!)



Ingredients:

* 200ml Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
* 1.5 - 2 tbsp Culinary-Grade dried lavender

Tools:

* 250ml Mason Jar (sealable)
* Small Funnel
* Straining agent - Fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, coffee filter, etc

The beauty of lavender infused gin is that there is very little work to be done, which suits me just fine considering this is a brand new venture. (Then again - it’s alcohol! How could anything ever go wrong with that?) The most difficult part, by far, would be having to wait. The smell alone is enough to test your resolve!



Now to start off, measure out some of that gorgeous lavender and place it inside your Mason jar. Follow that up with your gin, and seal tightly.

Make sure to place your jar in a cool, dark place for 24 hours, shaking lightly every so often. After a couple of hours, your infusion with begin to take on a slightly yellow colouring - This will continue to intensify as the steeping progresses.

FYI:
 If you're looking for more of a purple colour for your new gin, go ahead and pop a few blueberries in there as well. The dried lavender releases its flavour much quicker than the blueberries, so you'll retain the integrity of your floral product while extracting a light violet tinge from the fruit. 


You're almost finished! All that's left to do now is to strain the liquid two or three times, in order to remove any unwanted grit and lavender buds, and bottle!


A word on storage - If your chosen brand of alcohol came in a plastic bottle, it would be best to purchase a glass container for your new libation, or simply return the strained final product to a clean Mason jar. Alcohol is very efficient when it comes to drawing unwanted chemicals from plastic and, aside from those chemicals being gross and bad for your health, it may compromise the taste of your drink! We can't have that!

​You're finished!
Serve chilled with tonic, or get creative with a cocktail! Whichever you choose, this is sure to be the perfect addition to the late summer weather.

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Thanks so much for the post Cael- you'll need to make me a Gin Fizz when I see you next!! mmm

Hope you're all having a very tipsy Tuesday!!

xo erin 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

TBT: Nautical High-Waisted Shorts

Hi All,

For Throwback Thursday I have some cute shorts!

Mom made these for me two summers ago! Aren't they adorable!


They are from this Kwik Sew K3854 pattern- view B


They fit so well! I think these were made in a side medium, and I remember something about mom taking the leg in a little bit.


I LOVE these so much! and I've been wearing them quite a bit this summer- they are just so fun!


I love that they have a bit of a vintage nautical feel- and they fit really well!


Even in the bum- which can be a tricky area for shorts lol!


I love the set of triple buttons as the front fastening and the way the connect with the pocket!


Beautiful gold buttons!!!


And they are actually 100% functioning buttons- not just for show- and to add a little extra fastening power, mom added a little hook and eye further down to make sure the pockets didn't gape when I sit down.


These shorts have been such a summer staple for me :) They really class-up such a short pair of shorts!


Have you made yourself any wardrobe staples that you've been living in this summer? - these are definitely mine! 

Although I didn't make them myself- thanks mom :) <3

Hope you're having a great Thursday!

xo erin


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WW: A Weekend with a Friend :)

Hi All,

This Wednesday I thought the topic of friendship and spending time with best friends was important- so I thought I would share my visit with one of my best friends Claire.


Claire and I met just over two years ago now as co-workers in a summer student research job- we hit it off instantly!

And now that we've gone our separate ways with career and education, we've always made time to keep up with each others lives and to get in a couple visits here and there (like our visit last Christmas).

I went to see her this past weekend and it was SO MUCH FUN :)

The first night we went to this amazing bar in downtown Toronto called Barchef, where they serve the most fabulous cocktails.

Claire ordered this 'Sailor's Mojito' that was served with an accompanying 'drink ravioli' and 'beach essence' that gave you the smell and feel of the beach as you drank - Claire bought the recipe book and found out that it's dry ice with tanning oil to give the beach smell- but wow was it amazing!


It was such a cool place- but it was a really dark and cozy atmosphere, amazing for sipping drinks- but not so great  for photos- this is the only one that turned out, but I also tried the strawberry lavender daiquiri, the basil daiquiri, and my personal favourite of the night- the coconut mojito. - All so amazing!

But after a late night of being posh and drinking fancy cocktails in a nice bar downtown Toronto with all of Claire's beautiful friends - it called for a long sleep.

A sleep which ended in a wake up call of this lovely kitty giving me a gentle head-but, then rubbing down my whole body before sprawling out tummy-up beside me :)


The beautiful and oh-so-fluffy Sparta. Who also after waking me up, decided he would go right back to sleep in his tree :P


So Claire and I got on with the feast making- and made a lovely brunch of medium boiled eggs, toast, sausages, pastries, fruit salad, yogurt and muesli! mmmmm was it ever good!


Perfect fuel for the day ahead- of swimming at her friend's pool- which I was too in the moment to take pictures of- and for the evening activity which was going to the EX! or the Canadian National Exposition- a huge fair!

Naturally we got the wristband pass for all the rides and almost made ourselves sick riding all of them!


Even the beautiful kiddy swing ride!


It was such a fun weekend- and it really reminded me of how important friends are, and how special they are in your life :) - there were so many other little unmentioned things too- like getting ready to go out for drinks, colouring the little animal print-outs with Claire's copic markers, and just getting a chance to catch up! :)

Hope you're all having amazing weekends too!

xo erin

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tipsy Tuesday: Crabapple Liqueur

Hi All!

Today I have a guest post from my sister- who made some Crabapple Liqueur!!


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I first tried this liqueur at the farm (Mom’s friend’s farm where she keeps her garden) not sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a sweet-tart treat! I couldn’t believe it was 20% alcohol, so be careful. This can be drank in a shot glass or mixed with club soda to lighten it up.

So, I had to make it myself – here’s how it went:



Crabapple Liqueur 

5 lbs crab apples (quartered)
3 cups Vodka
4 cups sugar
1 large jar

Our crab apples were picked at a park downtown, so they were all free! They can actually be eaten on their own too.



mmm!


First, I cut up the apples and stuffed them into the jar.


After the apples fill the jar, pour the sugar over top. It tends to get stuck so you have to shake it around to get it to settle. I tried pouring the vodka in with it to get the sugar to dissolve.

To get these ingredients in, I had to be creative with the top of a water bottle to funnel everything in. Only one overflow incident, so you have to be patient with the sugar!



Once all the ingredients are in, put the lid on and lay it on a towel. The jar will remain here for the next 16 days. Turn the jar one quarter turn everyday, so there will be 4 full rotations by the end of the 16 days. Don’t worry if the sugar is not dissolved right away, it will slowly dissolve over the first week. 

The liquid will turn a pink colour.



At the end of the 16 days, strain the mix to get all the juices out of the apples. It should make roughly two 1L bottles of sweet-tart crab apple liqueur!



mmmmm! - such a treat!

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Thanks so much to my sister Kristie for guest posting! If you don't already know my sister - she is the amazing artist who did my banner above, and she has a wonderful blog where she posts about her art!

Hope you're all having a very tipsy Tuesday!

xo erin




Monday, August 18, 2014

Mom Monday: Lace-edge Undies, Cloning Your Favourites!

Hi All,

This Monday mom surprised me by cloning one of my favourites- a pair of undies!



I've had these undies for a while and I love them, super comfy boy short style, and with the lace edge leg they're great for having a smooth edge that doesn't show through clothes.

But as with every clothing item you love- it can't last forever. Especially if you leave your laundry on the floor in a house with a dog, a dog that has a special taste for women's underwear... gross.

However, if you have an amazing mom like I do, she just might surprise you with a clone of them!!

And most helpfully a picture tutorial of how she did it! :) YAY for blogging mom!!


So first she cut the undies apart at the front, back and crotch seam- you don't need a side seam on a boy short- and flattened the pattern piece down snipping along the elastic to make it lie flat.


Then she traced a pattern - marking the line for the lace. - It's also handy to put a name and date on the pattern :)


Then she cut it out of this super soft stretch cotton :) It was such an amazing match to the lace on my old undies that she cut it off and used it for the new ones!


Stitching on the stretch lace with a twin needle.


Serging up the center seam :)


Stitching on the gusset lining.


Then trimming away all the fabric under the lace with some applique scissors.


The final step is the top band elastic!


Oh and a bow of course!! :)


Such a fantastic pair of undies :) LOVE LOVE LOVE them! Thanks mom- best surprise ever!

Do you ever clone any of your favourite clothes? How did it work out for you?

xo erin

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WW: Blueberry Picking

Hi All!

A couple weeks ago I did a post about strawberry picking, well now it's time for blueberries- which I have to say I love picking even more than strawberries. :)


The berries are SO GOOD this year!!


They're jumbo sized! and super sweet and flavourful!


So plentiful that the bushes were completely weighed down with fruit!



 Mom and I couldn't help ourselves, after an amazing morning of picking we managed to pick just over 60 lbs of berries- so berries for all, and some for the freezer to get us through the winter! All in the car waiting to be taken home :)


Some of the best picking I can remember! And we pick at the farm that mom has been bringing me to pick since I was 3, Brambleberry farms !!

I can't wait to go home again so I can do some more picking! I love summer-time!

Do you pick blueberries? What fruit grows near you?

Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!

xo erin

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sew It Was- Work Social!

Hi All!

Yesterday all the Bra-makers ladies piled in a car and headed up to New Hamburg for our work social. What is in New Hamburg you may ask? Only the most amazing antique sewing machine collection you have ever seen!


We were greeted right away by Carl and his antique display cabinet full of toy sewing machines! So gorgeous! 



They were so cool! 


 This little machine was a travel sewing machine! Can you imagine?


But besides the little travel and toy machines he had rooms full of the full sized treadle machines!

This one below was made by a company called Howe- the owner of which (Howe) was so vain that he put his face all over the machines lol.


Carl had such an amazing knowledge of all the machines, how he got them, the companies they were from and their histories. We were all so wrapped up in his stories! Here he is telling Beverly and Rebecca all about one of his machines!


And he had such unique pieces in his collection- this old sewing machine took the fabric from right to left- can you imagine sewing sideways?


For all the left-handed sewers out there- here is a rare left handed machine!


And when I say that he had endless machines I really mean it- this was just one corner of one room!



And just when we thought the tour was coming to an end Joan (Carl's wife) took over the tour and brought us around her garden. Wow was it breathtaking!


Endless beautiful flowers- we were in heaven!






We never wanted to leave!


 It was a day very well spent, and I have to say a HUGE thank you to Carl and Joan for being the most wonderful hosts and for taking us on a private tour of their amazing collection and gardens. We had such a fantastic time!

Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday!

xo erin