Category Archives: gift ideas

a quick and simple pattern for a dishcloth


My kids have a running countdown to Christmas posted on the whiteboard on our fridge. It’s been a daily reminder of how far behind I am this year. But I’m getting there. Friday night we did all of our Christmas shopping and today we hope to tackle the rest of the fudge and cookie making.

We don’t have a single Christmas light or decoration up yet, but we are in the middle of a bathroom renovation and everything has been covered in drywall dust. Does drawing snowflakes in the dust count? I’m waiting for the work to be finished before we put up the tree. Though I suppose a coating of drywall dust might look like a light coating of snow. It could be the closest thing to snow that we have before Christmas again this year.

I finished a few quick dish cloths/face cloths for gifts for the girl’s teachers. Wrapped up with a bar of local handmade lavender, lime and mint goats milk soap, they make a cute and quick to make present.


There are a lot of patterns to be found on the internet for this cloth. This is the way that I make it.

Quick and Basic (Yarn Over) Dishcloth

SONY DSCPrintable Version


  • cotton dishcloth yarn
  • 5.5 mm needles (U.S. size 9)


Cast on 4 stitches

First row: Knit 4

Next row (increasing row): Knit 2, yarn over, knit across the row. Repeat this row until you have 45 stitches on the needle.

Next row (decreasing row):Knit 1, Knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to the end of the row. Repeat Row 3 until there are 4 stitches remaining.

Cast off using the stretchy cast off stitch (knit together the first two stitches on the left needle through the back of the loop. Slip the new stitch on the right needle back to the left needle. Repeat 1 and 2 until all stitches are bound off.).

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday

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and another christmas gift from the kitchen – dark chocolate candied ginger bark


This is another Christmas treat recipe that I got from a co-worker. My husband tried to convince me that this batch should be a “test batch” but I managed to save most of it and hide it away from him. And then I ate a couple of pieces. And maybe another. I think I might have to buy some more dark chocolate tomorrow.

It’s an un-recipe, really. You can put anything in this that you like – the only constants are good quality dark chocolate and candied ginger. I like to make mine with a salted nut of some kind, though having forgotten to buy peanuts or cashews one year, I substituted trail mix and it turned out great. The proportions are up to you, but I will give you what I use.

Dark Chocolate Candied Ginger Bark

  • 1 lb dark chocolate (I use wafers)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of candied ginger, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1/3 cup or more dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup or more nuts (macadamia, cashews, peanuts, almonds – all good)

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, add in remaining ingredients and spread on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Put it someplace cool to harden, then gently break into pieces. Store somewhere cool until needed.

I usually just store my candies and fudge out in the garage until Christmas. I did learn the hard way to keep them up out of the reach of the dogs. They can demolish hours of work in seconds. And our vets are our friends, but even they get tired of telephone calls on weekends and holidays.

Linked to Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugally Sustainable

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white chocolate party mix


Today the small squeaky kid and I made a start on some Christmas goodies. The dad and the tall kid are away at a day long hockey tournament, so squeaky and I spent our morning at hockey, then out for breakfast at a local diner, and then picked up supplies to make various and assorted goodies to give away for Christmas. Holiday parties are starting, and I like to give something along with the bottle of wine we always take along for the host or hostess.

I don’t really do holiday baking. My idea of Christmas baking is to invite the German-Swiss neighbours for Christmas dinner every year because they bring along a big platter of home-baked German goodies. Hey, it works for me. We’ve been doing it for almost 15 years now. Instead of baking, I have a few treats that I make every Christmas; assorted fudge, irish cream liqueur, dark chocolate bark, and this white chocolate party mix. My co-worker calls it White Trash, but I’m going to go with Santa Mix.

This is easy to make and you really can’t go wrong with some substitutions here and there. You can use a combination of rice chex cereal, corn cereal squares, even chopped up rice crispy squares, as long as you keep the amounts about the same in the end. Some people add in mini-M&M’s, but if you do, I’d add them in after the mix has cooled. I tried it once and the candy coating ran all over the rest of the mix as soon as the melted white chocolate was poured on top of them. It wasn’t pretty.

Oh, and you need a really big bowl or pot to mix this in. You could make a smaller batch, but you’ll eat it right away and need to make a second batch anyway.


White Chocolate Party Mix (Santa Mix)

  • 1 pound of white chocolate
  • 6 cups rice chex cereal (or combination of cereals of your choice)
  • 3 cups toasted O’s cereal (Cheerios)
  • 2 cups thin pretzel sticks
  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Combine cereal, nuts, pretzels and cranberries in a large bowl and stir to mix well.

Slowly melt the white chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.

Pour melted chocolate over the dry mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

Spread the mixture onto wax paper and allow to cool. Gently break apart into small pieces. Store in air-tight containers or bags and refrigerate to keep fresh (or store it out in the cold garage or woodshed, like we do – just out of the reach of the dogs).

Linked to Simple Lives Thursday, Frugally Sustainable

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