Peanut Butter Granola Bites

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m quite the picky eater, which I can tell you is not only annoying to the people I go out to eat with but to me as well. I have tried to like more things and as I’ve gotten older my pallet has began to expand and I’m now eating things I would have never dreamed of having on my plate now become a staple item on my dinner table. (such as tomatoes. I absolutely HATED tomatoes as a kid, now I crave those guys. Go back and tell my seven year old self that and I would have told you that you “so wrong”)

As a result of being a picky eater I have learned to make my own snacks and desserts because no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to like some of the stuff that’s offered at the grocery store. The other thing I found that I like about making my own snacks is that I can regulate the amount of things such as sugar and salt that goes into my food because my body, apparently, can’t handle a whole lot of it. As a kid you get excited to grow old so that you can eat all the candy and chocolate that you want but unfortunately for me I can’t even finish the four bars out of a Kit-Kat or eat more than ten skittles. Some might say it’s a blessing in disguise, I say it’s a curse from the candy demons.

Anyways, enough rambling, I thought I would share one of my most recent favorite snacks of mine that is super easy to make and requires ingredients that most of you probably have in your homes. I give you, PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA BITES!

For this recipe you will need:

1728-sg

Some Notes:

► For best results with the cranberries I suggest you chop them up a little otherwise they will take up a large portion of each bite.

► You also don’t have to use cranberries and can instead use raisins or any other dried fruit of your choice, I would just advise that anything bigger than a raisin should be chopped up a little.

► You don’t have to use both the chunky and the creamy peanut butter mix, I just like that there’s more than one nut in each bite. I haven’t tried it but I’m also sure you could use almond butter if you prefer that over peanut butter.

► Chocolate chunks are also optional.

Pour all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix until everything is well blended.

1733-sg.png

Lastly what you will want to do is take out about a teaspoon size amount of the mix and then with your hands roll it into a ball and VOILA! It’s as easy as that!

1748-sg.png

These little bites are perfect for a little boost at snack time if you need something to tie you over until your next meal. Personally, I like to have about two or three for breakfast with a smoothie and some fruit and it will normally keep me satisfied until lunch time. These are also a hit with my boyfriend who is not at all picky like me and I’m sure if I left the whole container with him he would probably eat the whole thing in one sitting. I also suggest putting them in the fridge, I’ve found they last a little longer and tend to taste better!

I hope you enjoyed this little recipe and in case you were wondering where I got the inspiration for this little recipe I got it off of Pinterest but you can find the original here. I changed some things to suit my pallet but be sure to check out the original if mine isn’t quite your cup of tea.

1756-sg

 

Egg Coaster

Hello friends! I come to you today with a strange but fun DIY which I think is also really easy to make.

I like strange home-ware, which often goes completely against my original ideas on how I want to decorate my home or desk area, and have therefore acquired some strange pieces popping up around my home among my less strange and more fitting home-ware pieces. (An example of this is two small bowls I have painted to look like a watermelon cut in half and of a grapefruit cut in half. Do they match my kitchen set? No. Do I like them anyways? Yes.) So here I am today adding yet another strange idea for a home-ware item to my home with a DIY egg coaster! Why an egg you might ask? I don’t actually have an answer for this other than because why not.

For the first part of this craft you don’t need a whole lot of materials except for the materials shown below. I would also like to note that you don’t necessarily need to use air dry clay, you could use polymer clay or any other clay you prefer, I personally feel like air dry is the best for this project though. The pen and paper are also not vital but I am a person who likes to have a template so that I don’t spend a whole lot of time looking for the shape I want for my egg.

1603-sg
First, roll out your clay to your desired thickness, I was going for a rather thick coaster so I made mine about half a centimeter but if you want it to be thinner then flatten it to the thickness you want. As I mentioned I drew out my egg onto a piece of paper and cut it out to help with this next step. Using the template I placed it on the clay and cut out my egg shape.

1611-sg
Now, you can skip this next step if you want but I wanted to give my egg some more dimension to it so for the yolk part I made a smaller circle using the excess clay, being sure to make it a lot thinner than the larger shape I made because you still want to be able to put glasses comfortably on your coaster. I then carved out a small portion in the main body of the coaster where the yolk goes and placed the circle I made earlier inside of it.

Using water I removed the rough edges and smoothed the circle into the rest of the area and was left with what you see below. If you don’t want to do this then I suggest just drawing out a circle where you want the yolk to be or simply paint it on later.

1619-sg
I let mine dry over night and didn’t end up touching it until later in the afternoon the next day because I wanted to be sure it had dried completely since I had made mine so thick.

Now it’s time to paint it! For this next part you will need white and yellow (or orange) paint, and used some mod podge to seal it all in. For the paint I did two coats for both the white and the yellow just to be sure that there would be no thin patches or holes or streaks in the final result. I let the paint dry for about 15 to 30 minutes  (or two episodes of adventure time) and then I went over it with two coats of mod podge just to be sure it was well sealed because I didn’t want the paint washing off were I to put something wet on it.

1630-sg.png
And that’s it! It’s as easy as that! I think it would also be cool to paint the yolk different colors just to be different and spunky because why not. I hope you enjoyed this and if you do make this I would love to see it, tag me on instagram or use the hashtag #craftingwithaleck!

1635-sg.png

 

Captured Moments – July

 

This month was one that, looking back on, I really enjoyed. Sure I yet again couldn’t find a job but that’s okay it allowed for more time to spend with friends and family. The way I try to see it is that I spend eight months out of the year stressing my butt off and work hard to do well in school that a month like this one was like a breath of fresh air.

As we do every summer my Dad and I made the long trip up north to visit my grandmother, an 86 year old woman who is still kicking it I’m proud to say. It was nice to get out of the city and breathe some country air for a change and what makes it more enjoyable is that she lives a stone’s throw away from a river so the views are one I wished I woke up to every morning. I think my favorite moment from this whole trip was when it was just the two of us and she sat me down with a mushed strawberries, sugar, and cream concoction and I was introduced to what is now my new favorite dessert!

1407-sg

After getting back I was still in the dizzy daydream that was country style life and so I decided to take a visit to my city’s art gallery (which is free so I tend to make use of this about four to six times a year). As long as I can remember art galleries have always been a magical place for me. I always enjoy walking the halls peering into the visual imagination of an artist creating stories in my head of the scene I am looking at. It was also on this visit that I determined my new favorite artist is Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant who I saw in an exhibition two years ago and rediscovered and now joins the ranks of Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh as my favorites.

1423-sg

Summer is in its prime here in Canada and personally I am loving it. I may be a Canadian but my blood is warm and I hate the winter, which sucks when it’s what we endure for four to five months out of the year. My boyfriend and I have recently re-discovered the joy of picnicking. This month we had our second picnic together and I can honestly say that it was one of the best days we have had just doing nothing in a long time. Normally we’re both so busy with something that to be able to take the time just to eat and spend some well needed time together was wonderful.

One thing I really love about the city that I live in now is that it’s big enough to have a large city center but also quiet suburban areas to escape from all the hustle and bustle. Being in a city that big allows for always having something to do I find. So one day, just last week actually, my boyfriend and I decided to have a date day and visit the botanical gardens (originally the planetarium but all the tickets were sold out). It was positively one of the loveliest date days we have had in a long while.

1578-sg

On the same day that we visited the gardens we also visited the Biodôme and this little guy was the cutest thing I had seen all day (aside from my rabbit at home of course, but I’m biased about her). And although I don’t really have any good pictures of them we also got to see the penguins which I think was a good way to end not only the date on but the month as well.

 

Mini Spring DIY

Spring has finally arrived, although you wouldn’t think so with the weather we’ve been having but that’s Canada for you, always the last to get the memos about change of season. Either way there’s a lot less snow on the ground, the days are feeling longer, tulips are popping up in every shop and I’m definitely starting to get into the mood of it all. In the spirit of spring I thought it would be fun to share a little DIY with you guys!

I recently visited my local Micheals for spring craft and home decor ideas and I stumbled into their clay section and fell in love with some of their pastel colors (obviously). I found three that I thought would best suit the scheme I was looking for and made a really cute statement necklace! This DIY was really fun to make and I hope it’s easy enough to understand for you to be able to create for yourself (I also filmed the process so if you want me to put that all together and post it to YouTube for a sort of tldr then let me know!).

What you will need for this project:

0486

Other things you might need that I didn’t include here are a ruler, thick needle, and scissors. The clay roller is also optional, I use it to warm up the clay.

Cut a section of your clay and knead it to warm it up then roll it into a ball to your desired size. I wanted mine to be about 2cm (about half an inch) and I repeated this for each of my three colors.Animated-balls

Use your needle to poke a hole through the middle of the ball, making sure not to dent or squish it, to create the bead. Do this for all three. Once that’s done put them on some aluminium foil on a baking tray and put them in the oven for 30 minutes at 230 degrees Celsius. Something to note: I used the Fimo baking clay, some other brands might call for different baking instructions so be sure to double check before popping them in the oven.

Once their done baking it’s time to put it all together. I changed the color of my thread at the last moment because I also thought the lighter string looked better with the color combination than the darker one I originally planned. I was also kind of disappointed because the green came out looking darker than it originally was in the package, but oh well.0534 sg

Cut your thread to your desired length, I chose 36 inches but you can make it longer or shorter. Choose the pattern you wish to have on your necklace, thread on the beads and tie it off and you’re done!

I hope you enjoyed this mini DIY and gave you a cute new addition to your spring wardrobe, I know it did for me.(I especially like it paired with this new blue dress shirt I got and honestly wish I could wear this outfit all day every day.) If you would like me to do more DIY’s then just let me know, I’m always crafting up something and would love to share!

Happy spring!

0552 sg

Walking through…

It’s always nice re-discovering places you used to frequent, sometimes it can even feel like you’re discovering them first time! Today while walking familiar streets I felt as though I was stepping into different stories from my childhood from Alice in Wonderland to the Secret Garden. After all these years and I had never seen these places from those perspectives until today!

9686 sg

Cobbled streets are a highlight of any journey I would think. Just paint them yellow and you’ll be on your way to the emerald city to meet the wizard!

9691 sg

I loved this wall covered in Ivy and lingered a lot longer around it than I think Mr. Moustache liked. I liked it even more knowing a garden lied behind it.

0229 sg

An Enchanted Forest

9601 sg

A couple of days ago me and my boyfriend decided to take our first mini road trip to a forest event we had heard of called “Foresta Lumina”. What the event essentially was was a “light show” in a forest. I say “light show” because it took place at night (ours was at 11:00pm) and instead of sitting and watching a show you walked through the forest, so I feel as through calling it a “show” doesn’t exactly do it justice.

As the reader/watcher you walked through the story and encountered the different plot points narrated mostly through lights, projections, and music but also through short written pieces.

9604 sg

Personally, I really enjoy things like this because for a while you feel like you can be truly lost and, for someone who lives on imagination island, it can feel rather inspiring. My favorite part (which sadly I could not capture because of low light and no tripod) was in a ravine where they had projected a bunch of tiny lights that gave the illusion of stars. I already love looking up at a starry night sky so to actually be able to stand in what felt like the night sky was sort of a dream come true!

9633 sg

My boyfriend really enjoyed the “door” that was on the other end of the bridge (as pictured above). Which I must admit was pretty cool with the single light source and fog that was coming out of it. You felt as though you were crossing into another place by walking through it.

9652 sg

It was definitely worth the two hour drive, although we both wish it lasted a little longer and that the story stood out a little more but it was great all the same. I think I’m going to try and convince him to go back again next year if the park does it again since it was definitely cute date night material.

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Thoughts?

As I expected, the finality has finally hit me. Only it didn’t happen after the vernissage like I thought it would but rather on Saturday morning when I didn’t hear my alarm go off. It was a weird thing to sleep in until 10 for a change instead of getting up at 8:30 to make it to class for 10. I almost thought it was Sunday and I ended up practicing for the most of the early afternoon to fill the emptiness of the missing class!

What I wanted to do in this post was to tie together all my thoughts and feelings regarding the past 10 Saturdays. So I thought it was only necessary to go back and re-read all my posts leading up to last Saturday. Upon reading I saw a lot of growth in both my drawings and in my confidence, I saw hesitation, and I saw qualities that linger still.

I remember that going into this class I had a set of expectations I wanted to meet by the end but having arrived at the end I find that not many of them were actually met. But I think that’s a good thing. I think if all my expectations had been met I might not have grown, or at least not as much as I did. I had expected to fail… miserably, but I didn’t. I expected to judged, but I wasn’t. I expected to learn too much at once, but I hadn’t, I learned exactly what I needed.

I didn’t expect to come out as the next DaVinci but I didn’t expect to learn or advance as much as I did either. I mean 10 classes of 2 hours each? How much could you really pack into such a short amount of time? (A lot apparently.) In the end I did learn to draw properly, and then some! It’s strange to draw more simply now because I can feel a shift in how I approach a drawing compared to how I did in the past. Only ten classes and I already feel what I learned working in my subconscious and coming out in something as simple as line art.

I can’t say it was all sunshine and daisies because I did have a small hiccup of confidence about midway through the semester and got flooded with a large amount of discouragement. I think I came out of it only slightly wounded but I learned from it and really that’s the best thing when you falter.

I still see that I strive for perfection and hesitate, yet at the same time I’m less intimidated about showing my work to people and no longer fear critique as much as I once did. I came to firmly realize that everyone has their own style and I will never be like my classmates and they will never be like me.

Walking through the vernissage last Friday was another kicker for me in that I saw so many pieces and no where could I find two pieces exactly the same. Even looking at my own piece I came to realize that I too had my own style. I think for the first time in a long time I was okay with that idea. I became more inspired and found myself wanting to be just like a lot of the advanced students.

If this class has taught me anything it’s confidence. Confidence in myself and what I’m capable of. I find it funny that it took something I used to hate to help me find this piece. Not only am I able to look at my art and find good aspects but I’m also able to apply this to parts of my life and find good aspects. I can find what needs to be improved and what needs fixing and I can honestly say this might be the happiest I’ve been in a long time. (Is this how the everyday happy people do it?) When it comes to art I still hesitate, I still have a lot more to learn, and I’m still at the beginning. That’s okay though, I know where I want to be and I know that with time and practice I will get there.

Losing my Second Tongue?

I don’t know if this is a saying in English but in French a literal way you could translate the word “language” could be “tongue”.

9594 sg

One cool thing about me is that I understand 2 languages, French and English, and I used to proud myself in saying that I was bilingual. Nowadays, though, I feel as though I’m not as capable of saying that as I did when I was younger.

I went to a French immersion elementary school where the whole day was conducted in French up until second grade where we started to get about an hour of English lesson a day (if my memory serves me correctly). Had it not been for my parents I would have learned how to read in French before English. I did, however, learn how to write in French before English, which is kind of funny now because my writing skills are horrible.

I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t understand French; it’s just always been a part of me. Lately though, I don’t feel as confident and it both scares and saddens me. I always hated that I was forced to learn it when I was younger because I never really saw a point. My parents only spoke English and I lived in an English speaking province. Sure it is an advantage for Canadians to know both languages but as a naïve child I thought I could do better without it. That is until I moved provinces to where the main language is French and English is practically frowned upon. It became an advantage to know what people were saying around you and to not stand out as being “that English person”.

I soon grew to like the language even though my new classmates had begun pointing out my weird pronunciations and sentence structure. I quickly adopted their dialect and felt like I fit in better even though it was a bit of a struggle because I felt like I had to re-learn my second language.

I had been LOSING A PART OF ME, and I didn’t even notice

Since growing older and moving to a more bilingual city within that same French province I have pretty much given up on French for the past 4 years. I have managed to get by with taking up an English speaking job, going to an English university, having English friends, and answering sales people with “hi” instead of “bonjour” when they greet me.

It has been only recently I’ve been put into situations where I’m being forced to speak French. First it was my art classes, where in the beginning my teacher was conducting them in English but by the 6th class he pretty much switched to French. I quickly adapted and now feel relatively comfortable to converse with him in French. Second came when I went for a job interview and I stumbled through it.

On my walk home while playing back the interview in my head I felt discouraged as I realized that I was losing my French. I had been losing a part of me, and I didn’t even notice. By avoiding it I was losing it and in turn a piece of who I claimed to be.

People tell me I just need to practice and it should come back in no time considering I learned it when I was really young. But I don’t know where to start. Do I read easy books? Think more in French? Watch more French television? It’s this uncertainty that I feel is preventing me from actually starting, that and a sudden self consciousness about my dialect.

It’s a strange feeling to notice something that has always been there begin to slip away, particularly a language because they really are a part of a person. And when you do you find it slipping you suddenly want it back. French is such a beautiful language (which is sadly butchered by the dialect of this province) and is one I’m proud to say is within my repertoire.

So take it from me. If there’s something you truly love about yourself, be a language or another quality… Hold onto it, because if you let it slip you never know when you just might need it again.

Chronicles of a Wannabe Artist – Day 10

Boy, time flies! Saturday was our last class of the spring semester and I don’t think it has sunk in yet. Consciously I know I won’t be going back this weekend but a small part of me still feels like I will be. I think it will sink in more after the vernissage on Friday which is when I plan to do a wrap up post about the class and my feelings.

Saturday was exactly what I have been wanting from these classes. Our teacher had put out a display of pieces and instructed us to draw whatever part or object from the setup. And if we  felt really adventurous then we could try for the whole display (but I don’t think anyone did in the end). A two hours well spent in my opinion!

The point of the last class was to tie everything we had learned together into one piece. The main focus of the class (as I’m sure you could tell if you have been keeping up with this series) was the human figure and so the majority of the pieces in front of us were human figures. I could only assume he was hoping we would choose those to draw… I drew the bottle.

I have got to say though I’m quite proud of it. I had ambitiously set out to draw the bottle as a side thing next to the female statue but struggled too much with the outline for the bottle that I didn’t have time for her in the end. All the same, I (with a little help) managed to produce a pretty stellar looking bottle!

I wish I could have included it in this post but it was taken from me so that it could be showcased in the vernissage. A somewhat nerve wracking idea for me since I’m utterly terrified of showing my art to anyone but I think it’s also an exciting idea.

When I was done  I sat there looking at it and I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself. “I did that!” is what I thought to myself. A feat I never thought I would be able to accomplish. In that final image alone I could feel these 9 weeks of learning and it made me happy. This class allowed me to see that as long as I keep pushing myself I’m capable of a lot more than what I give myself credit for.

Just let it Happen

9560 sg

Everyone has bad days but for me when it comes to waking up on the wrong side of the bed I tend to handle it really poorly, and I mean really poorly. I’m mad at everything and everyone and it’s always best just to avoid me to. But there’s one person who doesn’t hide from me and that would be my boyfriend.

If I wake up in a bad mood and stay in a bad mood I get really snippy and I give up on any hope on what I had for the day and sit on my computer. Even if it’s only 2 o’clock in the afternoon my mind decides that the day can’t be fixed. Thankfully I managed to land someone who is a lot more optimistic and hates seeing me so sad and gives it his everything to help me fix it. I love him.

Yesterday I woke up sad and grouchy and after having lied in bed for an hour, eaten, and showered for half an hour I still didn’t feel any better and I gave up on the day at only 1 in the afternoon. After a lot of refusing (and slight annoyance at slightly matching), my boyfriend finally managed to convince me to go outside and walk with him. No need of destination, who cares if it rains, and fuck the time.

Normally I have a hard time with spontaneity and not knowing where I’m going but I’m slowly opening up to the idea of it. Looking back on days like yesterday I realize how caught up I am in needing things to be orderly and planned when details aren’t always necessary. Sometimes the unplanned can be a lot more fulfilling than the planned.

9562 sg

In the end I did feel better and in the end it did rain but I was okay with that. We had walked to the local mall, ate noms, bought Laura Secord chocolate, and just wandered!

On the way back we did get caught in the rain with no umbrella and at first I started feeling miserable about it. I started worrying about how much he hates wet socks, and how I had a white shirt on, and how my hair had JUST finished drying. Then he looked at me smiling while shaking his head and said “just let it happen”. I thought for a moment, and then I did. I just. Let. It. Happen. I let the rain soak through my hair and my clothes and it felt so goddamn good.

I ran out into the open space under the rain and let the world happen. Behind me I could hear him laughing and calling me silly and I laughed with him. In the pouring rain I let the world happen. I loved how much we accidentally matched and I laughed at how we tried so hard to beat the rain only to end up getting caught in it.

What I think I’m trying to say is that when the world has got you down you just have to let it happen. You can plan all you want but sometimes you get caught in the rain without an umbrella and there’s nothing you can do except get rained on.