Pumpkin Spice


Ready to be sprinkled like fairy dust all over the land!

What is fall baking or fall in general without pumpkin spice?
Apparently, it’s impossible to imagine a world without it. This is the time of Pumpkin Spice: lattes, muffins, tea, cookies, t-shirts, tires, air… It seems like everything must have pumpkin spice in it, on it or under it.
Go Pumpkin Spice or Go Home!

So in the interest of this seemingly world- wide obsession, I am submitting to you, a recipe of how to make your own pumpkin spice.
I find that making your own pumpkin spice is much more economical than buying it at the store. A small tin costs almost $5 and is gone in the blink of an eye if you make any of the pumpkin recipes I’ve posted previously.

So, here we go.
You will need a mason jar or similar container, a permanent marker for labeling and this recipe.

Pumpkin Spice

3 Tbsp          Cinnamon
1.5 Tbsp      Allspice
1.5 Tbsp      Cloves
2 Tbsp         Nutmeg
2 Tbsp         Ginger

Pour into jar, and use again and again for all your pumpkin spice needs!



Note: In above pictures, recipe was multiplied by 3 for my needs at the time and filled 1 avg. sized mason jar and  6 small spice jars with a bit left over.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!


Peter, Peter, pumpkin –  eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well

Thanksgiving in Canada has just passed, it’s still a little early to be carving the hauntingly gorgeous (GOURDeous?) pumpkin. So, we still need to eat it. How about in the best form possible – cookies!
Pumpkin, chocolate – what more could anyone want?

These are some of the best chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin or otherwise that I have had the pleasure of consuming. This recipe has been slightly adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com.♦
Warning: You can’t eat just one.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup canned pumpkin                                  1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar                                          1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil                                     1 tsp milk
1 egg                                                              1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour                        2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps pumpkin spice

Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.

Add vanilla and chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 ºF (175 ºC) for approximately 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

♥ Note: I actually use less (roughly 1 cup) of chocolate chips. I find the whole 2 cups of chips too many for my taste.



♦Original recipe was found at allrecipes.com submitted by Jennifer under the title “Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies III”

Halloween Sewing

Halloween Sewing

My mother comes from a family of sew-ers. If you wanted a new dress, shorts, top etc. You made it. You got the pattern and the fabric and whipped it up, no muss, no fuss. That’s just how it went.
My Mother and Aunt were taught to sew as tweens and eventually made their own wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. As a result I was treated to amazing Halloween costumes, my personal favourite sewing purpose of all time. If I could dream it, it seemed Mom could make it. From mummies to flies to a giant fried egg (downright terrifying to someone with high cholesterol). These were the things I looked forward to every year. I needed to be “real”, people had to actually think I was this creature and be terrified, and she made those costumes as authentic as possible. How she was able to pull off what she did, I have no idea. The magic of mothers I suppose. To me, they were perfect and the neighbours were always excited to see what I would be each year. img_0020_2

To make some of these costumes, she would use a wonderful base pattern that is all but in shreds from so much use. Butterick 3372.

From there she would adjust and add and create. Unique touches, that took a costume to a “real” outfit that real witches would wear, that real mummies would look like if they were walking around.                                      img_0003_2

As I got older the game changed, not so much trick or treating, therefore less costumes and I had to fend for myself for at least part of the time, putting together some face paint and a wig and usually ending up hanging around the house as a corpse. But she really outdid herself on several occasions such as this beautiful doozy that she somehow made out of pure skill and Halloween magic. This is what a dark fairy is supposed to look like and though the picture does not do it justice, you can see the iridescence of the layers on the dress and the layers on the corset portion, complete with sparkly sheer sleeves and large collar neck-piece. All greens and purples and blacks like insect eyes, meshed together to create a work of art.


After having all of these beautiful costumes made for me throughout the years I decided to try it out myself, a few years ago. There is a certain satisfaction in making a child’s costume, in that you get to create it and that it doesn’t take much sizing since it seems, children are “children sized”. No worrying about bust and hip measurements and the adjustments therein. Just simple shapes for a simple shape, at least in my limited experience it was.



My nieces were my guinea pigs for a couple of Halloweens. First making a black cat costume out of the indispensable base pattern that both my Mom and my Aunt had used decades before. Then, using components of the same pattern and making adjustments and additions to create a witch and a ghost.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Halloween is a magical time with pumpkins and ghosts and goblins galore, not only can delightful holiday treats be made in the kitchen but they can also be made at the sewing machine, where imagination becomes reality if only for one night, and memories are made.




Pumpkin Muffins!


Round, orange, versatile and delicious. Usually the pumpkin doesn’t get carved into a Jack-O- Lantern until the end of October, so what are we supposed to do with all that glorious-ness besides gaze at it adoringly?
Well, I suppose we should eat it. Then we can become one with the pumpkin!

Let’s start with pumpkin muffins, these are an easy, delicious muffin that I have slightly adapted from the original recipe.


Pumpkin Muffins
makes 12 ♥

3 cups   all-purpose flour                       2 cups     canned pure pumpkin (not the pie filling)
2 cups   white sugar                                  2/3 cup   vegetable oil
2 tsp      baking soda                                  3               eggs
1/2 tsp   baking powder
6 tsp      pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp   salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, vegetable oil and eggs.
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until well blended and smooth.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of muffin comes out clean.


♥ usually comes out closer to 20 muffins using full recipe.





Original recipe from allrecipes.com as Pumpkin Muffins II submitted by Julie

Pumpkin Palooza!

pumpkin-23479_1280Now that it’s October, the pumpkin worship can begin, which is only fitting since they are a delight to behold all season long.
I will be doing a small series of pumpkin related posts to help us all enjoy the well rounded appeal of my personal favourite fruit.
Yes, notice I said fruit, and no it’s not a mistake.
Pumpkins are of the family Cucubitaceae and the genus Cucurbita which includes all varieties of winter & summer squash, gourd and pumpkin.

According to The Perfect Pumpkin by Gail Damerow  “… a pumpkin is not actually a vegetable but a fruit, and a berry at that…” this is because pumpkins (like berries) develop from a single pistil of a flower and has no core or stone. The species of pumpkin that we all recognize as our big beautiful orange jack-o-lanterns and pie pumpkins is the C. pepo.
C. maxima are those gorgeous white pumpkins that make carving jack-o-lanterns as skulls so easy.

Now you have some pumpkin trivia to impress your friends with!
Check back on the blog for more in the Pumpkin Palooza series.


If fresh meat be wanting to fill up our dish
We have carrots and pumpkins and turnips and fish;
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon;
If it was not for pumpkins, we should be undone.
				17th century unknown Plymouth Colony poet


Jams, jellies, fruits, vegetables – Each year in summer and fall, tons of people start the process of canning.

Before supermarkets and home freezers were common, canning was the only way to have vegetables or fruits over the winter, modern shipping, trade and commercial canneries have made the need for home canning unnecessary but many still enjoy the process, insert preferred reason here.

This year I decided to can some pears, I’ve helped with tomatoes and apple sauce before, but this was my first foray into fruit and… I liked it!

We used “organic”, “free-range” pears, collected from a semi-neglected tree out back. 


Semi-neglected tree.


Usually the crows grab them with extraordinary speed the second they are fit to eat, but this year we beat them to it. So. Many. Pears.


A sampling of pears.








The amount we had to preserve seemed daunting. Did we have enough jars? This will take forever.

I was amazed at how little pear there is left after peeling, and cutting. In the end we ended up with 9 quarts and 9 pints (or if you prefer 12.8 Litres or 3.4 Gallons) of delicious pears in light syrup.



All in all a tremendous success, which will lead to many a pie later on.

What’s next? Beets me.   beet-1299146_1280

All About the Hawaiian Shirt

Hawaiian Shirts!

Call it a Hawaiian shirt or Aloha shirt, nothing says “holiday” quite like it.

The Hawaiian shirt is an ancient garment, dating at least to the 1920’s. Its precise creation is lost to time, but there are a few persons of note that were instrumental in its rise to popularity:
Gordon Young first developed a “proto-aloha” shirt in the 1920’s, using Japanese yukata cloth, a narrow width, cotton cloth with usually a blue or black geometric or bamboo pattern. His shirts made for him by his mother’s dressmaker became the bee’s knees with his classmates at the University of Hawaii.

By 1936 Ellery Chun of King-Smith Clothiers, manufactured and promoted a local style of shirt using the Japanese kimono material but with colorful tropical designs done by his sister Ethel. They retailed their shirts at the family’s store in Honolulu. These shirts found popularity among the off-duty navel servicemen, finding them comfortable, colourful alternatives to their uniforms.

In 1948 Alfred Shaheen – the “Shaheen” in “Shaheen’s of Honolulu” – turned his eye toward Aloha shirts. During the postwar tourist boom, sales exploded, and Shaheen hired local artists to design all sorts of Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian motifs. In ten years, Shaheen was the undisputed king of Hawaiian Shirts. He marketed them as “wearable postcards”, and they became a virtual uniform for tourists, whether visiting Maui or Wisconsin, and a symbol for ease and relaxation. As always, Hollywood helped – big stars like Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, Bob Hope and – of course – Elvis, all made major features sporting flamboyant tropical shirts.

Many people throughout the years have contributed to the rise of the Hawaiian shirt and we can all be thankful that they did. I personally find it a charming addition to any wardrobe to wear while on holiday or not. My husband’s love of Hawaiian shirts is obvious in his collection, as you can see pictured below.



And see my own Hawaiian shirts in my Esty Store!


If you would like to read even more about the history of the Hawaiian shirt please check out these titles:

The Aloha Shirt by Dale Hope

The Art of the Aloha Shirt by DeSoto Brown and Linda Arthur

Birthday Buddy Ingrid Bergman

Yes! It’s true! Ingrid Bergman and I have the same birthday. What does this mean? Could it be that somehow I am destined to be a star, just because we share August 29th as our birthday? Am I going to possess any of her charms and graces?  No. Of course not. It’s just a neat little fact. Your trivia for the day, if you will.
But she is one of my favourite actresses and so I will feature her today because it is our birthday.
Now, I’m not going to write a mini-biography about Ms. Bergman. You can look her up on imdb.com or better yet read her biographies.

I recommend these because I have read them and found them informative and enjoyable:

Ingrid Bergman: My Story by Ingrid Bergman & Alan Burgess

Ingrid: Ingrid Bergman, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

Even though we have nothing in common, I am sure that we would have been friends had the opportunity arose.


Happy Birthday to us!




Thank you for stopping by my blog, I’m glad you came!
I have so many ideas to share with you over the coming weeks, but as a first blog post I would just like to welcome you and tell you what you can expect to see coming up. Mostly we will be looking at vintage inspired/themed/based activities, entertainment, recipes, fashion and the like. Also, I will be throwing in some regular or novelty content as well.
Perhaps you will like it, perhaps not. But feel free to contact me or comment on the post to tell me what you think.
~ V