Blueberry Cinnamon Scones

2019 has been busy so far!

So far this month, I’ve learned to make cultured, aged vegan cheese and yogurt from almond milk. I’ve learned how to make my own soy milk at home, and use the left over pulp to make amazing pattys that taste like the ocean. I’ve also been redecorating my dining room/sitting room area! This has involved stripping the finish off of my table and redoing it in a lighter tone, sewing new cushions, buying new drapes and decluttering some of the space. All of these projects have been shared on my facebook page, but at the end of the day it’s all just other peoples recipes and ideas, and I didn’t really feel the need to write it out on here.

In addition to my creative projects, I’ve been busy with work. Like, work-work, the kind I get paid to do. Thankfully, I work from my macbook so my life is mobile and I can do quite a bit from home.

Being busy means I have to think ahead when it comes to food. Being on a vegan diet, AND avoiding processed food means I don’t have a lot of ‘quick’ options on a busy day. This recipe takes about 10 minutes to put together, and gives me 8 good sized servings, so I’m set for tea breaks or light lunches for the next few days.

It also works well with this new egg-replacement trick I learned, which is an added bonus. You know when you blacken the bottom of a pot, and so you sprinkle some baking soda and vinegar into it and watch it foam up? Same deal guys. You do that in a muffin/cake/scone type recipe and that foamy action provides lots of fluffy air pockets in your baking. Plus, you don’t taste the vinegar. Isn’t that cool?

The trick is making sure you keep the liquid portion separate until the very end, then get it into the oven right away. Easy peasy.

The recipe I worked up for myself uses creamy cultured coconut – but that is because I wanted the healthy fat, and the tang from the culturing. If you can’t find what is essentially ‘coconut based yogurt’ at your health food store, then use whatever thick dairy free (or go dairy if you aren’t a vegan!) yogurt you can find.

The other must-do’s in this recipe, are mixing your vinegar and almond milk and setting it aside to sour before you do anything. and then preheating your oven and get a pan ready, because you’ll work quickly at the end.

I drizzled mine with a vanilla glaze. You could go without, but then we wouldn’t be friends.

Blueberry Cinnamon Scones

Dairy free, egg free, vegan

  • 2 cups of white flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cultured coconut (yogurt), vanilla flavoured
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tblsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 or 1 cup wild frozen blueberries

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, or grease a round shallow cake pan, larger than 8″.

In a small bowl, mix the almond milk with the vinegar. Set it aside and let it sour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Blend on low speed for a few seconds to mix the ingredients. Add the cultured coconut and blend again, until it is crumbly.

Add the soured milk mixture, and blend again for about 10 seconds. Don’t over mix, but make sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the frozen blueberries. They may bleed a little here, but they will still look great!

Pour the entire dough mixture onto your prepared pan, and roughly pat into a 7″ round disc. You can use any size pan you want, the disc will hold its shape.

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. You can remove it from the oven when a knife inserted comes out clean. It can have blueberry on it, but no sticky dough. Take the disc out of the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Reduce your oven temp to 350F.

Once slightly cooled, cut the disc into 8 wedges. Set the wedges onto a baking sheet liked with parchment and cook them at the reduced temperature for another 5-7 minutes. If you like your scones very moist, you can avoid the second bake but I prefer them to have dry edges.

Let your scones cool completely, then mix 1/2 cup icing sugar with 2 tablesoons of water and a touch of vanilla. Drizzle the glaze overtop to provide a touch of sweetness, and enjoy with some tea, a good book and a quiet house.

Chickpea Scramble

A born and raised foodie, an extreme cheese snob and homogenized milk drinker, I would never have guessed I could find satisfaction in this new lifestyle but I really have. 

I may not have chosen to be a vegan, but I would definitely choose it now. 

Setting my love of vegan food aside, I’ve also been enjoying my increased energy, faster hair growth, clear skin and the loss of 17lbs. True, I’ve always been on the slender side, but returning to the weight of my early 20’s has been pretty awesome. 

So, while I’m not really a breakfast eater, once in a while I really want something more than a smoothie on the go. I’ve always been like that, and my usual go-to has always been toast or a bagel.

Vegans (and vegetarians) always need to be mindful of protein though, so I can’t waste a meal with just bread. That’s when I discovered this amazing thing in the vegan world called “Chickpea Scramble”. 

Is it like eggs? No. Will it fill the egg void? Definitely. Do you have to like chickpeas? Probably. Some recipes mask that earthy flavour (like these brownies) but this one is pretty obviously a chickpea. 

If chickpeas activate your gag reflex like they do for my husband, move along. This one is maybe not for you.

There are many recipes for this scramble online and for a while I was favouring the ones that used flour instead of whole chickpea. I still prefer the flour for making a chickpea omelet, but I’m pretty set now on only ever using whole chickpeas for my scramble. They just have that texture and chew that I want in my breakfast, and once you add all the fixings, it’s pretty awesome. 

Give it a try! This recipe is loosely adapted from Catching Seeds, so you can try hers or you can try my take on it below:

Chickpea Scramble
Serves 2 – Protein 14.3g, Cal 233, Carbs 35.1g, Fat 4.6g

  • 1 cup canned Chickpeas, rinsed very well
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Broth or this Vegan “Chicken” Broth
  • 3 whole Mushrooms ( I use cremini), sliced
  • 1 small Tomato, cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped scallions or chives
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • Black Pepper to tast
  • Kala Namak (Black Salt) or regular Salt to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon coconut oil or olive oil

Warm up a small frying pan and add your oil, followed by the sliced mushrooms. Sauté on medium heat for a few minutes until they are soft and slightly golden.

Rinse the chickpeas in a colander very well, removing all of the canned liquid.  Pour the chickpeas into a bowl and with a masher (or a fork), cream them down until you have the desired texture. I prefer 2/3 mashed to 1/3 whole.

Add your broth to the frying pan at this point, along with your chickpea mixture, nutritional yeast, scallions, salt and pepper. Simmer on low until the liquid is absorbed, stirring or flipping occasionally. 

Side Note: I use the McCormack All-Vegetable Chicken and Beef broths for almost everything, because I love the added flavour. They don’t make your food taste like meat, but they definitely add a depth of flavour that is nice. I bought these after I read that some vegan restaurants use these bouillon cubes for their gravies and sauces. 

The Kala Namack Salt is a black Himalayan sea salt that is actually used in natural medicine to aid digestion – plus it has a perfect, “eggy” flavour that does not overpower in any way.  I like this one because it comes in rock form, and is in a nice salt grinder. 

As the liquid absorbs, your chickpeas will soften. If you would like them even softer, you can add more broth and let them go a little longer. About a minute before you are done, add your tomatoes and let them heat through and soften slightly. 

I eat mine with some hot sauce and a side of artisanal toast ❤ 

Canine Christmas Cookies

I have been trying to figure this whole thing out for a very long time. 

What I wanted was an easy to make/bake cookie for my dogs, something quick, healthy and pretty, without relying on sugar. I used to work for a canine bakery and even they had to rely on sugar, but I knew if I thought about it hard enough, I could figure out a way to get exactly what I wanted.

The first part was simple; 3 wholesome ingredients mixed into the perfect roll out cookie dough. Baked at 350F for 12 minutes and voila – a beautiful healthy cookie for my doggies. 

It was the icing I struggled with. The glaze. I just wanted to really make them look festive, but I couldn’t handle the idea of putting sugar on top of these healthy cookies. 

I had a lot of failed attempts with greek yogurt. I refused to add sugar, and my experiments with rice flour and tapioca were a bust. While scraping the latest failure down into the garburator, I wished that it could be as simple as boiled down sugar, which would get hard upon cooling. But of course, I was against the sugar, so then I wished I had a natural sweetener that would just do the same thing as sugar, and wouldn’t that make life so much easier…

So ya. Pretty much the moment a lightbulb went off in my head. Right there. 

After a quick search online, I found a few vet articles that stated pure maple syrup in small doses, was good for dogs. In fact, it provides them with necessary manganese and zinc, which support a healthy immune system! 

I also know that maple syrup can be simmered to the temperature of 110C, and that when it cools it becomes semi-hard. Otherwise, perfect for dog cookies. I basted the cookies with the hot syrup (just a little) and it spread over the surface perfectly. More than enough time for me to add a few sprinkles to make them festive, but they probably didn’t need it – the shine was perfect. 

So perfect in fact, that when my husband came home he asked if he could have a cookie. I was soooo tempted to just let him, but I’m to nice. 

If you make these cookies for your fur-babies, I’d love to see a photo! Use the hashtag #creativelybee when you post, or tag me directly. Have fun!

Canine Christmas Cookies
makes approximately 12 palm sized cookies


  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (no xylitol)
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • Rice flour for dusting


Preheat your oven to 350F.

To make the cookies, combine the pumpkin, peanut butter and oats into a medium sized mixing bowl and blend on medium speed for about a minute until well combined. 

With your hands, press the dough into a ball shape and turn out onto a board dusted with rice flour. You can use wheat flour if it’s all you have, but rice is better. You can also just roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment and skip the flour all together.

Roll the cookie dough to 1/4″ thick, and cut out your shapes. Lay the cookies on two cookie sheets lined with parchment.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. It’s better for the cookies to be dry and crisp so let them brown a little. Let them cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, pour the pure maple syrup into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Insert a candy thermometer and let it simmer until it reaches 110-115C. Remove from heat and let it cool for a minute.

Baste the cookies with the glaze, or drizzle it over top. Add some sprinkles at this point, they will stick to the cookie. 

Let them cool completely before giving them to your dogs. 

Tip: Please make sure you double check all of your ingredients. They should be pure and without preservatives. Make sure that all of the ingredients you use in these cookies are safe for your dogs and never take just my word for it. 

Cookie House Template

Every year, I have the grandest plans, and the best intentions. I make 3lbs of gingerbread, measure out a few dozen tiny pieces, and set about making the most amazing masterpiece you’ve ever seen.

You don’t remember? That’s because that part never happens. I either forget about it in the freezer, it collapses, a crucial piece breaks in half, or I realize I measured something wrong (last years obstacle).

Sometimes, simple is better.

I’ve made a few versions of these instead, and I have to admit that I have way more fun with this kind of Cookie House! I’ve also begun using sugar cookie dough, since you can flavour it (chocolate roof anyone?), and pre-colour the dough to make the overall presentation better.


In this particular cookie house, I used chocolate sugar cookie dough for the roof, and coloured the vanilla sugar cookie dough using copper food colour paste.

If you have an expanse of wall or roof, and you don’t want to load it down with lots of heavy royal icing, you can make a glaze with some watered down royal icing. I use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ it, and according to my 14 year old and her best friend, that is the perfect amount of icing on the cookie.


There will be another tutorial posted shortly, for baking and assembling a cookie house, but here is a template you can download and use for free. All I ask is that if you make one and post it on social media, please use the hashtag #creativelybee so I can see it :D.

A few tips:

  • Use a double batch of cookie dough, to achieve the standard size.
  • Print the attached PDF at 50% or 25% for a smaller, cuter house!
  • Make sure you cut out your doors and windows BEFORE baking. I’m just saying… I forgot about that once.

Here’s your Cookie House template!


Painted Pastry

Every year my church hosts an event called Western Day, and one of the main attractions is the pie baking contest. As of this date, I have never won, but in all fairness there are some pretty amazing bakers to compete with!


The pie baking contest is a great motivator to try something new though, and this year my mind went to painted pastry. A few years ago I experimented with a similar technique for painting sugar cookies prior to baking, but I didn’t like the result once the cookies had puffed up slightly and cracked that surface. My theory was the pastry would give a better finish since it technically doesn’t rise, and I was right.

Pastry paint happens in the egg wash stage, and involves only a egg, some water, and some food colour paste or spray. To make this pie, I used both; The leaves and flowers were all painted but the blue flowers were sprayed with an air brush food colour I picked up. I just loved how vibrant all of the colours were! Added to it, were sugared cranberries and pecans, because I love the rustic look of fruit and nut garnishes.

It’s important to remember that the painting happens before baking because we’re using egg – I laid my cut and painted pieces on a cookie sheet and assembled them afterwards onto my pumpkin pie. The “glue” and clear glaze that was used for finishing, was just a bit of icing sugar mixed with water. The glaze gives all of that extra pastry a nice flavour that you can enjoy on it’s own (if that much pastry on your pie seems like overkill).

Here’s how I put this particular pie together. Have fun with your own creations!

The Pastry Paint – Recipe

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • food colour
  • food safe paint brushes
  • small mixing cups for colours
  • toothpicks

Place the egg in a glass and whisk with the water for about half a minute. The water will break down the egg and make it less gluey. Divide your egg mixture between the mixing cups.

Using disposable toothpicks, add colour to your egg wash and mix pots of colour.

Paint your pastry! Be liberal with your egg wash, it will soak in. Bake the pieces until browned on the bottom and remove from the oven. The size of your pieces will make the cooking times vary, but these particular pieces were baked for 10 minutes at 350F.

Assemble your pie using a glaze mixed with icing sugar and water. Once it dries it will harden slightly and help hold everything in place. It also makes a nice all-over glaze for shine and flavour.

Post your creations online and use the hashtag #creativelybee so I can see your work! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Click here for my tutorial on making your own Pie Crust!







Vacation for the Creative Type

Restaurants, shops, horse-drawn carriages, bicycle
Main Street, Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Mentally, I have always struggled with the very act of going on vacation. As a creative professional, my personal life and my professional life are happily interwoven. A day spent in the craft room working on projects does wonders for my emotional state, and there is nothing more relaxing than knitting outside by the fire pit, racing the sun with my ‘one more row’ mantra.

Even a day of running errands can also include moments of “look how gorgeous that field is, I have to take a picture” and “oh, Michaels is right here, i’ll just stop and grab some paint”.  My part time day job is creative too! I decorate cookies all day long and they actually give me money to do that. Unreal.

For a lot of people, a vacation is a time to break away from the work, but to a creative type, it can be hard to imagine something better or more relaxing than just making stuff. In all honesty, tomorrow when we head out on vacation, my husband will lead me to the car while I look longingly back at the house; But by the time we get to the highway I will have reminded myself of the following things.

So how do creative types get the most from a vacation? How do we tap into the vein of the experience, and really find the true experience of going away somewhere? Here are some cool lessons I’ve learned:

Experience Kairos

Creative or not, our linear minds are a jumble of past experiences and future anticipations. This chronological way of thinking is something that the ancient greeks called chronos. Life measured in time.

The other word, lesser known, was kairos. Kairos measured life not by time, but by the moments. To experience kairos was to stop and truly immerse yourself in your current experience. The scent of the air, the new sights, the temperature, and even your breathing.

While on vacation, permit yourself to experience kairos. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Take Photos of your Family

When I was 26, I travelled to Romania with a group of friends. When I came home, my camera was full of photos of castles and mountains, ruins and art. I took photos of the amazing things I had seen, because I wanted to show people what I had experienced, but in the end I was just that girl chasing people around, trying to make them watch my metaphorical slide show.

The photos that mattered, and the ones that still do, are the ones with my friends and I. There’s the photo of three of us standing in the doorway of an ancient ruin. And two of us in the forest with a stray dog who liked belly rubs. There’s the one with our group, standing on top of the largest dam in the world.

When you go on vacation, take photos of the people your experiencing it with. They are the anchors in your memory and when you look back on the photo you will have more of a connection to the experience.

Embrace the Local Culture

Be you, but be you in a different place! I went to Nashville, and came home with spices from the most amazing spice shop. I went to New York State, and came home with wool from an Alpaca Farm. Don’t just do what everyone else does on vacation, experience the local culture your own way.


Most of all, remember to not put expectations or pressure on yourself while on vacation. Studies have shown that a break in your everyday routine is enough to get your creativity flowing, and new experiences force us to use parts of our brain that we otherwise dampen down. Journal any new ideas you have, and then leave them in the book so you can return to kairos and recharge. When you return home, you’ll be amazed with your increased focus, and the flow of fresh, new ideas.

Do you have more to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments!










Sugar Bush Walnut Cake II

I’m curious, how old is your oldest cookbook?

I don’t know exactly how old mine is, but I remember my aunt giving it to me when I was 18, and that was… well, a while ago. The book shows its age, with brownish paper, worn print and a zillion splatters and stains within its pages, but still – I love it.


It’s April, and here in Southwestern Ontario (Canada), it’s near the end of Sugarbush season. Usually, my daughter and I take a day and head out to the local sugarbush to enjoy a walk through the woods, watch the sap boil on wood fires and eat some hearty breakfast with fresh syrup. Sometimes, my husband will take a day off from the office and come with us, but for some reason we didn’t get around to doing anything like that this year.

Maybe that’s why this cake caught my eye today, while I was looking up another recipe. Well, truthfully, the giant stain that wiped out a portion of the recipe caught my eye first, but THEN I noticed the name of the cake, and I was intrigued.

The only real problem with this cake (other than, you know.. the stain that took out part of the recipe), was that it was a chiffon cake. My husband hates any cake that has egg whites separated, beaten and then added back in. It’s a texture issue for him, so as a rule I just leave those recipes alone because I can just not eat a whole cake to myself.

Whatever. I totally can, I just try not to.


I read through the recipe so I could understand the flavour profile, and then converted it to a traditional cake. I’m in love with the result, and I know I will be making this one again! The walnuts really give this cake something special, infusing the whole cake with their nutty flavour, and the simple syrup, made with real maple syrup, was a good way to add moisture and add flavour. I don’t know, I’m not always a fan of just using extract, when I can use the real thing. Right? Right.


For the walnuts, you can use a sharp knife and just chop the walnuts down until they are small bits, but I like to use my pestle and mortar for anytime I need to break down nuts. They crush up nicely, with a varied texture and they don’t go all oily and buttery like they would in an electric chopper. Fold these into the batter just before pouring it into the pans, and while the cake is baking, their flavours will be release and will permeate throughout the entire cake.


The cake is easy to put together and bakes up well, but the assembly was a little more involved than my usual cake. The end result is a really perfect, cake that you will need to take to a friends house, church potluck, or just make for yourself because you like nice things and just want to surround yourself with the best of everything, all the time.

Oh wait, that’s me. But I think if you’re still reading this and haven’t skipped all the way to the recipe by now, then you and I probably have a lot in common ;).


I hope you enjoy my take on this old recipe and let me know how it turned out for you!

Sugar Bush Walnut Cake II

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup veg oil
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, divided
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • Caramel Cream-cheese Frosting (recipe below)
  • Maple Simple Syrup (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 325 F.

Finely chop 1 cup of almonds, or use a stone pestle and mortar, crushing them down until about 1/3 of the mixture resembles cornmeal. You could use a blender for this, but the walnuts will get oily and buttery very quickly and that is not how you want them.

Sift together the first 3 ingredients, and set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, add the eggs, sugar and oil. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Alternate the milk and flour mixture until both are incorporated, and then add the extracts. Continue mixing for another minute on medium speed.

Stir in 2/3 cup of walnuts, setting the remainder aside for garnish.

Grease and line (3) 9″ round pans, and divide the batter evenly between all 3 pans. You really should line the pans with parchment, this will create a porous bottom that you’ll find useful, later.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn the cakes out onto racks and let them cool before assembling.

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 225g package of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 8oz can of dulche de leche (Eagle brand, near the condensed milk)
  • 6 cups icing sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, add all of the ingredients. Beginning on low speed, fully mix all of the ingredients and then increase to medium speed. Allow the frosting to mix for about 2 minutes, becoming thicker.

This batch should give you enough frosting for 2 8″ cakes.

Maple Simple Syrup

  • 1/8 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup spring water

Place the syrup and the water in a small mason jar and close the lid tightly. Vigorously shake the jar for 30 seconds, and then add the syrup to your squeeze bottle! Alternatively, you can baste the layers of the cake with a basting brush, I just prefer the squeeze bottle. I divide this amount between the 3 layers with no leftovers, but you may prefer to use less.


  1. Place a layer of cake onto your serving board upside down. This will expose the porous surface of the cake. Squeeze some Maple Simple Syrup onto the layer, and then add some Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting.
  2. Repeat for each layer.
  3. It is a personal preference for me to keep the sides of my cake semi-naked, but you can fully cover them if you like! I just find the icing to cake ratio changes drastically on the edges, and I don’t like that.
  4. Garnish liberally with the remaining chopped walnuts.




Plant Stand – Refinished

I have a lot of hobbies, and somewhere along the way I turned that into a blog, facebook page, and a few fairly decent how-to videos… but they are not all equal, all the time.

Right now, I’m in a furniture phase.


For the past few years I’ve become braver when it comes to furniture, and I think it’s largely due to the fact that I just feel like this world has enough “stuff”. It’s also partly because I’m tired of paying money for things that fall apart after a few years, while the pieces I refinish sit as solid and new as the day I completed them.

I’m always stopping by thrift shops and junk stores, keeping my eyes open for something that could not only be refinished, but become a desirable item once again. Last month, my eyes caught a sad, old plant stand that had some water rot on the shelves, but the spindles and brass knobs were perfect. It was also $4.


Maybe I could have saved the shelves, but the water had caused some warping and it was easy enough to have new shelves made since my FIL is a top notch wood worker. He actually made me 3 shelves, to replace the 3 I had, but I made the decision to keep the stand at 2 shelves and kept the third pieces for another project.

While I usually refinish pieces in creams and ivory, I really wanted to use this vintage pear shade that I had, and I love how it came together with the vintage papers I used for the decoupage.

If you’ve never added paper into your refinishing techniques, you are missing out!

It’s a delicate process, but by using some modge-podge glue and good quality prints, you can layer the paper onto the wood, and once dry, sand it down to bring out the wood grain and give the paper a distressed look, much like you would with paint.

Here is another project I did, but using a paper napkin. You can see how the wood has almost absorbed the print!

I finished this piece with some brown antique wax, and a few clear coats to keep it water resistant.


So what do you think? Did I get my $4 worth?



Focus Concept: Future Me

I am by nature a very unfocussed person.

The kind of person who will go to the grocery store because I suddenly need one thing, pick up a bunch of other things while I’m there (to be efficient), and then come home and realize I forgot that one thing I actually went there for.

The kind of person who packs a lunch for work, the night before, and even gets my morning smoothie all ready in the cup for the blender – but leaves for work the next morning forgetting both things, and has to stop at the coffee shop for supplies.

I’m the girl who makes verbal plans with people, forgets about them, and then takes a spontaneous trip out of town because I have a *free* day.

It’s horrible, isn’t it?

My husband, my daughter and our friends… they think it’s part of my charm. They laugh, and forgive, and shake their heads, and sometimes it really is funny.

And then usually, when the situation is passed, I mentally berate myself for not being more focussed, more attentive, and I hate to say it…. a better person.

Over the past year, I had resolved to become more efficient, so I increased my personal studies on productivity and organization. I started with books that were bestsellers and recommended by Audible, but as I listened to each book I paid attention to the books the authors themselves referenced, or recommended. Now, almost a year later, my book choices are widely varied, and somehow I’ve gone from researching “skills and habits” to actually learning about how the mind works.

I know, I know. This is a craft blog. Trust me, I’m getting to the useful part.

There is a lot of info out there that can really help you understand how your mind works, but one of my favourite concepts was the truth about how we tend to view current responsibilities as aversion tasks. We also tend to put things off until tomorrow or next week, because we subconsciously view our future selves as the stronger, healthier, more put-together version of ourselves.

The problem is, our future self will never be better than the version we see today, not if we keep dumping on them. We can put off things all we like, but the aversion feelings are still locked into our mind. So we will continue to feel overwhelmed, overworked… and nothing gets done. Or we leave something so long that just as we finish, we are suddenly faced with 3 or 4 more things that need to be done right away. It’s like the longer life goes on, the harder it seems to get.

Can you see that in your own life? I immediately saw it in mine.

While many books promise the secret to becoming organized and productive, we creative types would just be wasting our money to try and apply them all. We are too scattered and wild to be channeled into a singular focus, and that’s okay because it’s what makes us, US.

The world needs more scattered and wild people, don’t you agree?

But there is a fantastic trick to having a good, productive day and guys… it involves time travel.

The technique is simple. In the morning, take a moment to visualize your future self.

My future self is amazing, fyi.

Think, you have to be good to your future self. What do you have to do today, to help that person? Be careful with your money today? Make some stock for your marketplace store today? Give your house a good cleaning today?

As you think about your tasks from the point of view of your future self, you’ll actually get a fast forward feeling of accomplishment. It’s exhilarating.

Now think of your future self at the end of today. Doing something relaxing and indulgent. What 3 things do you want to accomplish today, that will make that scene happen tonight?

Clean the house? Make 3 meals for the freezer? Help your daughter get her newspapers done so they’re off of your front porch (that might be mine).

Write them down, and do them. The limbic system of your brain will send out rebellious feelings of procrastination and will tempt you to shift your focus to something more rewarding, like watching videos of dogs being rescued from a dog meat farm in Korea (also mine). Call it out for what it is, and just do the three things.

I promise you, they won’t take as long, or be as difficult as your brain wants you to believe.

I’ve been using this method for a while now, and while I’m still forgetful and scattered (more on that another day, if I remember – haha), I’m actually ending each day so much better, and it’s helping me sleep better, which has made my mornings so much better!

Do you see where I’m going with this? I’m actually becoming my future me. Here’s an example of how this concept has changed my life so far:

6 months ago, I couldn’t wake up before 7am without being all kinds of cranky and needing a pot of coffee. It would take me at least an hour to be mentally alert enough for conversation. Not joking. I’m also 40, so I really thought there was no changing things at this point, except that it did.

Yesterday, I woke up at 4am, which is something I’ve been doing for a while and loving it. By 5:30am, I was at the gym and by 5:45am I was swimming laps. By 7am I was at work and feeling like 110%, and I had still barely had 1/2 of a cup of coffee.

Instead of being at work all day and thinking about how I’m going to be too tired to go to the gym afterward, I was on an emotional and mental high that lasted all day and it fed into every other task that followed. I am excited to see how where my life will be in a year, and I feel like I know myself so much better, already.

So if you have a craft business or are trying to start one but can’t seem to get all the things you think you need to get done, finished and moving forward… try this method! Your future-you, the more successful, healthier, happier YOU… will thank you.

Handmade Business 101 – Pricing

There isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t take it personally when someone overlooks what we have made. It’s okay, we work hard. We imagine things, and give life to them with our hands. I own a handmade business and I’m a cake decorator, so when someone admires something I’ve put my heart and soul into, checks the price, and then immediately walks away – I feel your pain.

More on “Don’t look Rejected at a Show” another day 😉

I was in business for 6 years, and I hadn’t made a penny. Lot’s of sales, for sure, but no profits. In fact, there were some orders where I ended up paying out of pocket. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that, as ridiculous as it sounds.

In fact, it was a really long time before I began to ask myself if I cared more about the sale, then I did about making money.

I had this idea in my head that the more sales I made, the more people would tell their friends, and my business would grow. It was true in a sense, but eventually I realized that while people did tell their friends about what I made, it was the deal they talked about; And those referrals wanted the same.

A handmade business, even from home, is like any other. You have to have a little time and money to invest in your start up and stock. There needs to be product, enough that you can “fill” a store, and you need, really need, to be patient.

Patience might seem like a strange word, but the advantage to working from home is that your overhead isn’t going to kill you (I’m assuming you already had a home you were paying for, some other way). Use that to your advantage and don’t play the price-war with online and local retail shops. Patience is the thing I had to learn that finally helped me get my act together. I once waited 2 years for a particular wreath to sell. 2 years… I had online inquiries, but no follow ups. You can’t imagine how badly I wanted to pursue the sale, even if it meant a sale price… but the day an order for it came in online, I made a profit, and the woman who bought it loved it so much, she left me a lovely review.

These days, I focus on profits and not sales. I may sell less, but I am making more personal income. Yes, I still have the occasional friend of a friend, or family member ask me for something, but I have a new rule I live by. I price everything the same, and the price is the price, no deals. But if I can give this item as a gift, then I count the personal investment as a pay out to myself, that I then log as money I spent on a gift.

Below is a list of 4 really important points, a list that I personally review with every.single.product. I make to sell. It requires some organization, but the payoff is… literal, actually.

  1. Remember you deserve to get paid for the work you do! Keep a Project-Log for every piece you work on. For me, that is a post-it note, stuck on each thing. I keep track of my time, and the cost of my materials. If I use half a bottle of glue and 1/4 bottle of white paint, I do the math.
  2. Set an hourly rate for yourself. Do it. This is your job, and you have a valuable skill. When you price your item, adding your hours is key. If you want to get this cost down for your customer, then you will just need to learn how to multi-task and and produce more per hour. I find that making 2 or 3 of the same thing at once helps with that – once you’re on a role and you already have the materials out, it doesn’t take that much longer on the clock, a savings that is passed to your customer.

    Setting the hourly rate is up to you, but this is the formula I follow. If I am hands on and working diligently, I charge a standard hourly rate and log it. If I am spending 5 minutes working, and 55 minutes waiting (therefore working on something else), I apply a reduced hourly rate to it. I don’t go so far though as to charge per minute… generally, the hour is the hour unless I really was only at it for about 5 or 10 minutes.

  3. Staple your receipts for materials to your project-log. I save on materials by using Amazon, downloading 50% off coupons at Michaels, and buying seasonal supplies on clearance, to be used for the following year. Example: Christmas supplies are 75% off in January, and can be stored for the following year.
  4. Be PATIENT. This is the hardest one. As consumers, we are conditioned to slash prices if something doesn’t sell within a few months, or once a season has passed. This is price game that no one actually wins. Competing on price will force you to lose money, never making it, and it will also teach your customer that if they wait, they can get a better deal.

    I’m not going to lie, sometimes that sale will take a long time to come if you don’t play the price game, but when it does come, you will make the money you earned.

Have anything to add to this list? Leave a comment! For more tips and shared ideas for having a Handmade Business, join my Facebook Group!!







Gluten Free / Dairy Free Brownies

Day in and day out, I watch food videos online and from the day I saw my first “Tasty” video, up until a few weeks ago, the evolution of my thoughts were as follows:

I want to eat that.

I think I can make that.

I think I can make that video.

It took me a few days of planning, and literally 11 hours to shoot and edit this one little video, but I can’t tell you how fun it was, or tiring, or the seriously weird things that happened behind the scenes. Let’s just say that Google help is life saver, and even I won’t be able to sew the tear that I got in my skirt while scaling the kitchen cupboards.

Since this was my first video tutorial, I wanted to show you something really cool and unique, and I think I nailed it with these Gluten and Dairy free brownies. I’m going to tell you (again and again and again) that it’s not always about wheat flour! There are really just some things you can make better with a different flour, and in this case, brown rice and corn flour take centre stage.

I use a standard cookie sheet for my brownies, always. They come out just the right thickness, and are so easy to remove and cut. You’ll see in the video that I discarded some side pieces – don’t you worry. I ate them.

Obviously, eating healthier was not in my list of new years resolutions for 2018.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this tutorial and will feel inspired to make these brownies! Trust me, they are unbelievably delicious, and I’m not just saying that… I eat gluten all the time, this is just really a baking preference for quality and superior texture on these ones.  Enjoy!

To see the actual video, visit this link here: 

Gluten and Dairy Free Brownies

  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 cups White Sugar
  • 1 cup Veg Oil
  • 1 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Corn Flour
  • 5 tbsp Potato Starch
  • 3 tbsp Tapioca Starch
  • 3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 cup Dairy Free / Gluten Free Chocolate Chips

Blend all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Spray a standard cookie sheet with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray again.

Carefully spread the very sticky, thick batter over the parchment. You may need to hold the parchment a little. Go slow, it will be tricky but you’ll get the hang of it. Make sure it is spread evenly.

Sprinkle 1 cup of gluten and dairy free chocolate chips or chunks, over the top.

Bake in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test. The brownies will appear very puffy, they’ll settle back down as they cool.

Once cooled, slide the brownies from the pan and cut into squares. They will keep very well, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Since this recipe makes so many, I recommend freezing half the batch.

Feel free to leave me a comment! We’ll chat over brownies.

The Giving Plate – a Sharpie Craft

For as much as I love to shop in craft stores, they’re also a great source of inspiration for me. I find that a good hour of wandering through the aisles, with latte in hand, can do wonders for my creativity so I try to plan those times and make them happen.

Let’s call them R & D (Research and Development) sessions. It just sounds more professional. Haha.

On a recent wander, I saw the most adorable idea. It was a plate, called The Sharing Plate, and it had this little poem on it about the plate having no owner, and that if you received this plate you should enjoy what’s on it, and then refill it and pass it along. I loved the idea and the feeling of hospitality and love it conveyed, but I did NOT love the $40 price tag.

I’ve been meaning to try Sharpie art for a while, so this seemed a good time to try it out. I bought a plate from Dollar Tree for $1.25 and began experimenting until I had some real, personal success.

So, before you start… I find the Internet is full of tutorials for how to do things, but let’s be honest, following someone else’s instructions doesn’t always work out. If they did, we wouldn’t have those entertaining Pinterest “fail” boards, right? So when I say this is what worked for me, remember that you shouldn’t buy the most expensive platter you can find and dive in head first. I really suggest you do a “trial” plate first, and subject it to whatever test you can think of. Then buy the plate you like, and have at it.

For myself, I hand washed my plate twice, and then put it through my dishwasher on the express cycle. This tutorial is based on the outcome of all of that.

Tips & Suggestions:

  1. Use Sharpie oil based markers for the best finish. You can purchase these at Michaels, and they’ll actually say Oil-Based right on the front. The regular generic Sharpies at Walmart seem to do okay, but the oil based is better.
  2. Use cheap, dollar store plates for your test (as mentioned).
  3. Make sure you try your designs and hand lettering on paper first, and let your hand build a little “memory” before you attempt the real thing.
  4. I went over my big letters “the Giving Plate” and “Family and Friends” twice, to make them extra bold.
  5. Let the plate sit for about 12 hours.
  6. Place your plate on a tray and place in the oven. Turn the oven to 350 F and once it’s at temp, bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off but don’t remove the tray, just let it come back down to room temperature and then remove it from the oven. This is probably best done overnight.
  7. I found that the black was the best to use, but some colours faded. Out of the colours used, I found red, silver, and gold to be the worst, green was okay but not great, and the bronze Sharpie held up fairly well. When I made my “for real” plate, I just skipped the colours and bought a plate that had a pattern I loved.
  8. When washing, I did experience some running of the ink but only the first two times… but this was when I used a cheaper Sharpie as well. By the 3rd wash it had stopped and only one of the words in black seemed partially faded.
  9. I used the term “The Giving Plate” because I liked it better than the word “sharing”, and in the end I went with a more chaotic, in the round, style of typography. If you choose a horizontal text, you can mark your straight lines with thin washi tape and peel it off after. That washi tape is handy stuff!
  10. Lastly, use your Sharpie to mark a little note on the back for washing instructions 🙂

If you make one, I’d love to see it! Share it with me on my Facebook page or add a photo in the comments here. Have fun!

The Giving Plate (poem)

This plate shall have no owner

It’s journey never ends.

It travels in the circle

Of our family and friends.

It carries love from home to home

For everyone to share

The food that sits upon it

Was made with love and care.

So enjoy this now

But fill it up again

Then pass along the love this holds

To our family and friends.