Wednesday 30 November 2016

Hoot the Owl

My friend, for whom I made a little duck, also requested an owl and I was happy to oblige.
What a cute little guy he is...big owl eyes and a little beak...
To make him, I followed a pattern in my all time favorite amigurumi book; seriously this book, and the other two by the same author, are so full of crochet cuteness...if you have ever been interested in amigurumi, I would highly recommend these books. The patterns are clear and simple and the toys that you can make are adorable, as you can see here.

Here is Little Duck and Hoot together....
Finishing up these two and seeing them sitting side by side has really inspired me to make more amigurumi friends. I've earmarked the patterns that I want to do, but that is as far as it will go for now. For the next month before Christmas I need to focus on gifts that I want to make. I'll just add my amigurumi friends to my 'to make' list for the new year. Isn't it wonderful to have a lot of crafty ideas? Can you imagine how boring life would be if that was not the case?

I'm joining in with the Thistlebear Winter Project Link Party.

Sunday 27 November 2016


"A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

The Queen of Hawaii and her Royal Fashion Designer

To begin, let me just say that my girls do have toys, they just preferred to spend the day, as they do most days, playing with paper, scissors, toilet paper rolls, and the stapler.

We spent Saturday evening at the theater watching a fantastic performance of Cinderella, and Bridget woke up the following morning bubbling over with inspiration and excitement. Before Steve and I were even out of bed, both girls were in the basement - Bridget hard at work designing and making dresses, while Claire was the ever-patient model, attending fittings as needed. Throughout the day, all wardrobe essentials were created: dresses, shoes, purses, bracelets, anklets, crowns, headdresses, skirts, shirts. There was a battle gown, a traveling crown, and a jewel festival outfit. And it was all made out of paper and stapled together. The girls had the best time - "a great day" - and were even planning what else to make while getting ready for bed. The headdress with the toilet paper rolls was so iconic that it got both Steve's and my vote as our favorite creation of the day. The imagination and creativity that pours out of these girls just amazes me and I often wonder where it will lead; I am excited to watch and see.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Local Produce Box: Week 22

The final box: apples, kale, carrots, red onions, potatoes, cabbage, squash, tomatoes and spinach (not pictured).

After picking up our produce box for twenty-two weeks we have reached the end of the season and with that I have thought a lot about what I loved about this program, what I was not really keen on, and what I would do next year.

Let me start with what I loved:
  • that we had fresh, organic produce every week
  • how much better this local produce tasted compared to what we could buy in the stores
  • increased knowledge and appreciation for what grows local to us
  • trying new recipes (my favorite thing!!)
  • it was fun
  • meal planning was simpler as I planned our meals based on what we got in the box
  • I got to drive into the country and visit a beautiful garden center every week when I was picking up our box
  • after the initial cost of paying for all the boxes back in June, our weekly grocery bill was greatly reduced
On the flip side, there were things that I did not love:
  • receiving herbs in the box - it was very difficult to use large bundles of herbs before they went bad
  • sometimes we had a lot of the same produce - for example, too many onions at the beginning of the season and too many carrots at the end - and it was a lot to use up before the next box arrived. I did manage to use everything in the end, but it definitely required a bit more work and organization and was a wee bit stressful at times
  • the recipes that were included with the box this year were not as good as those we got last year, though to be fair, I have become very particular about recipes and about what I cook
Looking ahead to next year, I would definitely participate in this program again, but more likely every second week rather than every week. This would create a little more balance - all the things I love about the program while eliminating a fridge full of lettuce and onions, or three varieties of peas, and the pressure to use everything up before the next box arrives. Also, we having been talking about expanding our backyard garden and if we do that a produce box every week, plus what we harvest from the garden, would be too much.

As for writing these posts about our produce box and what foods I have cooked, I have really enjoyed it. More interestingly though is that as I spent more time in the kitchen trying new recipes and playing with food presentation, I fully embraced the creative aspects of cooking and realized that cooking has indeed become a hobby of mine rather than simply a necessary chore. And while I was a little hesitant at first posting about food and cooking here at Crafty Cucumber, worried that it would not be a good fit, once I saw it for the creative outlet that it had become I knew that it belonged here. I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have enjoyed creating them.

    Monday 21 November 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    "Mom, we are freezing...hurry up and take the picture!!!"

    Winter arrived this past weekend; the temperature dropped dramatically, the snow whipped against the windows and accumulated ever so slightly in the corners of the yard. Inside we tried on winter coats and boots, searched through drawers for hats, mittens, and scarves. While winter stretches out ahead of us - long, dark, and cold - I find myself looking forward to the quiet of the season, to hibernating and spending some cozy time with my girls.  

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

    Tuesday 15 November 2016

    Local Produce Box: Week 21

    I had to dodge raindrops to get a photo of this week's box: carrots, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, butternut squash, Jerusalem artichokes, apples, and apple butter.

    I tried two new recipes this week:
    (from left to right)
    1. Jerusalem artichokes, have you ever heard of them? I have not, and these were not at all what I know artichokes to look like. Luckily there was a recipe included with our produce so I had some idea how to prepare them: boiled with a little melted butter on top and a sprinkling of parsley and lemon juice. They were met with a full range of reactions when we had dinner: Bridget loved them (but she loves everything), I thought they were good and liked that we had a new vegetable to try, Steve and Claire had looks of utter disgust on their faces when they put them in their mouths.
    2. Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. I got distracted and roasted my squash a little too long - some pieces were a little crispy - but it was still delicious, the avocado being an especially delicious touch. I am happy that between this week's salad and last week's risotto, that I have found a few things to make with butternut squash other than soup.
    Tonight I pick up our last box of the season...

    Sunday 13 November 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    A family walk on a Sunday afternoon, complete with a stop at Tim Hortons for muffins, eaten while sitting outside on the rocks (our spot) in the gorgeous autumn sunshine.

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

    Friday 11 November 2016

    Now is Now

    One afternoon this week the sun was shining beautifully when I got home from work, so I grabbed the camera and headed out into the yard to take a few photos.
    I love autumn, always have....
    The colors on this particular afternoon were breathtaking....
    Nature has a way of showing off in autumn...
    Over the next few days it rained and the wind blew almost all of the leaves off the trees; I am so glad I went outside and took some pictures when I had the chance.

    Now is Now.

    Thursday 10 November 2016

    One Little Duck

    I made a little duck for my friend to give to her daughter; her daughter loves ducks.
    The pattern that I used (from this book) also included instructions for an apple hat which I made as well....because it is very cute, and what little girl does not want an accessory for her little friend.
    I hope she loves it.

    Of course now that my girls have seen this little duck, and my pattern book has been out on the kitchen table, I have received quite a few requests for toys that they would like....

    I'll be busy crocheting...

    Tuesday 8 November 2016

    Local Produce Box: Week 20

    Another great box this week: beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, apples, carrots, tomatoes, butternut squash, cabbage and watermelon radishes.

    I was feeling a little experimental this week and tried a few new recipes:
    (from left to right)
    1. Loaded Sweet Potatoes - this recipe is from Oh She Glows Everyday. In the past, when I have had sweet potatoes on hand, I have either made a soup or simply cut them up and roasted them. This recipe offered something very different and I was excited to give it a try. The bean mixture on top was delicious, but what really made this dish was the avocado sauce (green). 
    2. Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto - Butternut squash is another vegetable that usually becomes soup in my kitchen, but not this time. This dish was delicious, time consuming with all the stirring needed to cook the rice properly, but delicious all the same.
    3. Watermelon Radish Salad - I was so excited to see watermelon radishes in our box because I have had this recipe from The Forest Feast earmarked as 'one I want to try' for years - I could just never find watermelon radishes in the grocery store. 
    Great food again this week thanks to an inspiring box of delicious it!

    Monday 7 November 2016


    "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

    Claire: "I'm going to be a bird watcher when I grow up...."

    Bridget: Living life to the fullest, always with a big smile on her face...

    Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.

    Thursday 3 November 2016

    Local Produce Box: Week 19

    In this week's box: kale, romaine, onion, potatoes, apples, acorn squash, beets, carrots and apple cider (not shown)

    This is what became of this week's produce:
    • Kale - salad
    • Romaine - salad
    • Onion - still in the fridge, but it will get used...
    • Potatoes - I made a potato leek soup (leeks were on sale this week...bonus)
    • Apples - school/work lunches
    • Acorn Squash - nothing yet, but when I have a little more time I'll cook up a big batch
    • Beets - roasted
    • Carrots - school/work lunches
    • Apple Cider - Steve and the girls drank it up rather quickly

    I stuck to simple basics this week, nothing fancy or adventurous; sometimes this is just what I need in the kitchen, no muss no fuss...

      Tuesday 1 November 2016


      "A portrait of my girls, once a week, every week, in 2016."

      Queen Amidala and Rey

      Joining in with Jodi for the 52 Week Project.