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This is how I make a pumpkin pie spice latte

October 22, 2013

This is how I make a pumpkin pie spice latte at home (& save a lot of pennies doing it!).  Everyone deserves an afternoon treat! This is one of my favourite drinks to help pass the afternoon. It is like a big warm and cozy hug from your best friend. Give it a try and please leave your variations in the comments on this page.

Save a few pennies and create your own delightful treat – a pumpkin spice latte. Create your own for less than 50 cents a mug!
This recipe is easily adjusted to your own taste. Try adding your favourite spices to the spice mixture or garnish your finished latte with them.
Pumpkin Spice LattePumpkin Pie Spice Latte
Pumpkin Pie Spice
    • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    • 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 3 teaspoons ground allspice
  1. Combine all in a small bowl and whisk to remove any lumps.
  2. Store in an air tight container.
  3. Experiment with your spices and try adding 1 tsp of ground cloves to create a more festive mixture.

Syrup (makes 4 cups)

    • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin

Prepare the syrup:

  1. Bring the sugar and 2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin to the syrup. Whisk until the pumpkin is fully incorporated into the syrup.
  3. Simmer, whisking occasionally, for another 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside 5 minutes, then strain 2 – 3 times through a fine mesh strainer into an air tight container.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to one month.

For the Latte

    • 8 ounces milk
    • 4 ounces espresso or very strong coffee to taste
    • Whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice to garnish (optional)
  1. Pour 1 – 2 tablespoons of syrup into a large coffee mug.
  2. Add 4 ounces espresso or very strong coffee.
  3. Steam and froth enough milk (8 ounces or less) to fill the mug. (I use my espresso machine, but you can heat the milk in a sauce pan on the stove and then whip it in your blender (if you want milk froth).)
  4. Add a dab of whipped cream on top and sprinkle with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice.
  5. ENJOY!

How many stitches can this stitcher stitch?

October 18, 2013

Banff Blue Ice

Banff Blue Ice

This past summer was a busy one. I wrapped up several large professional projects, had major neck surgery, and began the process of recuperating from that surgery. This meant a reduced activity level that kept me from knitting for quite some time. Fall is finally here and, I’m happy to report, I’m returning to a more normal schedule; I have returned to stitching!

Travel Knitting

My favourite type of knitting is travel knitting. This is any project that is small and portable. It fits nicely in my knitting bag, purse, or travel case. There isn’t a whole lot of additional yarn to carry. What fits the bill? Socks… lots and lots of socks.

Whether I travel to enjoy family and friends in other parts of the country or travel to engage the hearts and minds of professional colleagues, I have a socks in various stages of construction to keep my fingers busy on planes, trains, and automobiles.

I often make the trip to Brooks, Alberta. My sister lives in this little town on the Canadian prairie. While my husband drives, I stitch. I stitch a variety of projects: socks, mittens, wash cloths, stockinette sweaters. All of these have one thing in common – they are based on easily memorized and simple stitch patterns.

A Good Plain Sock

My favourite travel knitting project is a good plain sock. The easy construction of a toe-up sock provides miles of stitcherly enjoyment. It is even less complicated when paired with a self-striping or patterning yarn. The pattern forms as each round is knit and helps stave off the boredom of miles and miles of stockinette accomplished on very tiny needles.

How many stitches can this stitcher stitch?

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, which landed on October 14, 2013. This is traditionally a time for family to reconnect and enjoy each other over a turkey feast. We decided to keep tradition intact and spend it with my sister in Brooks, Alberta. The drive between Saskatoon (SK) and Brooks (AB) is about 5 hours long and covers a distance of approximately 495 kilometers. This is a perfectly enjoyable amount of mostly uninterrupted knitting time!

This Thanksgiving travel knit project was a pair of good plain socks. I am using Mary Maxim Twinkle Toes Yarn in Blue Ice. It has a hint of sparkle to it and provides the knitter with a faux fair isle design that changes as the stitches build upon each other. As I stitched this pair of socks, I wondered how many stitches could I knit between Brooks, Alberta, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

As it turns out, this stitcher knits approximately 9000 stitches! I began stitching as we pulled out of my sister’s drive and continued stitching until we parked safely in our own. As it turns out, this is about the halfway point of a typical sock. I stitched only while we drove, taking breaks for short pit stops and longer meal breaks. I cast on the toe in Brooks (AB) and ended as I completed 2.5 cm of the leg. I cast on, knit the foot and gusset, turned the heel, stitched the heel flap, and was able to complete a few rounds of the leg all in the time it took to drive home.

How’s that for a productive knitterly trip? (Ravelry page)

9000 stitches

Brooks (AB) to Saskatoon (SK) knitting looks like this. Approximately 9000 stitches!

Rosetown (SK) to Saskatoon (SK) knitting looks like this:

Rosetown (SK) to Saskatoon (SK) knitting looks like this:

Brooks (AB) to Oyen (AB) knitting looks like this:

Brooks (AB) to Oyen (AB) knitting

A Good Clean Day!

September 7, 2013

Natural cleaning supplies

Natural cleaning solutions

Years ago, when my kids were tiny, I gave up my dependence on man-made chemical cleaning solutions. Yes, I broke up with Mr. Clean and sent the Lysol with him. I returned to a more natural clean and have not regretted a single wipe, wash, or polish since.

My home is now safe for kids and pets and I have a few more pennies in my pocket-book (my home-made solutions contain safe and economical ingredients). My surfaces shine and my chrome sparkles. Everything I need to keep dust bunnies, grease, and grime on the run is readily available in my own kitchen.

Many of you have asked me to share my cleaning recipes. I have perfected my cleaners and adjusted them to suit my own personal clean needs. Sometimes I enjoy a different scent or need a more powerful scrub. Whatever my mood, I have all the supplies I need right in my very own kitchen.

Grab a rag and join me on a cleaning adventure that is sure to add a sparkle to your world and a shine to your surfaces.

Basic All-Purpose Potion

  • 20 drops of your favourite essential oil (I’m a fan of lavender – it is very good at kicking those little germ butts and smells great)
  • 2 cups of warm water (helps the ingredients blend and mix with each other)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar (depends upon the level of clean you need – for the bathroom I use 1 cup and for the kitchen I use 1/2 cup)
  • Few drops of your favourite liquid dish soap (helps cut the grim and grease)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (any brand that is available in your grocery store)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon. of baking soda (this is a natural deodorizer and gives your cleaning potion a little extra scrubbing power)

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle (you can reuse your bought cleaner bottles – a Windex spray bottle is the perfect size for this cleaning potion).

Grab a bit of paper towel or your favourite cleaning rag and commence shining all your surfaces. This potion works well in bathrooms and kitchens, on outdoor furniture, and the inside surfaces of your car. I avoid using it on wood surfaces as the vinegar to water ratio is a bit harsh for wood.

Basic Window and Glass Potion

  • 2 cups warm water (to help the ingredients mix together)
  • Few drops of your favourite liquid dish soap (helps cut the grease and grime)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (grab your favourite brand from the grocery store)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar
  • Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and give a tiny shake to mix everything up.

Grab your favourite glass cleaning rag (I find newspaper does the trick for a streak free shine).

Begin cleaning all the glass surfaces (like coffee tables and mirrors) and windows around your house. Once you get started, it is hard to stop. You will absolutely love the way the sun pours through streak free windows

Fridge Potion

Baking soda

Baking Soda is a natural deodorizer.

  • 4 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 litre of warm water

Mix the two together, empty the fridge, grab a clean rag and begin wiping all the surfaces. That’s it!

Tile and Grout Potion

  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray the grout and tile and then go have a coffee. Once your last sip is sipped, return to the are and scrub. You’ll be absolutely amazed at the sparkle and shine you will achieve.

Are you a natural clean type of person? What are your favourite cleaning recipes or tips that help you keep a happy and healthy home?

For a complete list of #KMbChat topics a

August 19, 2013

For a complete list of #KMbChat topics and accompanying PDFs of the chats, visit the #KMbChat Archive

Saskatchewan Rough Rider themed afghan

June 22, 2013

Saskatchewan Rough Rider themed afghan, originally uploaded by GarterGiggles.

My nephew is a life long fan of this Canadian football team. I decided to commemorate the love of the team through stitches. He has waited patiently for this mile-a-minute afghan.

Green and white strips are highlighted with black connections. This afghan is stitched in strips that are worked in the round. Each completed strip is then connected to the next with a simple chain and single crochet combination. (Five of eight strips are complete.)

Try creating each strip in a different colour combination to add interest that is easily customized to suit any room and decor. It is a quick and easy way to use up your bits of yarn and bust your stash.

What’s on your hook today?

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2013

June 13, 2013

World Wide Knit in Public Day 2013, originally uploaded by GarterGiggles.

Join Saskatoon stitchers on June 15, 2013 as we celebrate the love of our craft and each other.

Where: Market Mall (Preston Avenue)
When: June 15, 2013 from 11:00 am to 03:00 pm

For more information, please contact Beverley Kenyon at 306-382-4553 or

Via Flickr:
Join us as we enjoy our craft and the company of other stitchers in Saskatoon, SK.

Who doesn’t love a good yarn?

May 30, 2013


FictionKNITstas 2013

FICTIONistas, Canada’s premiere tour of women authors since 2006, is a unique take on spreading the good word. It has focused on celebrating the works of Canadian women authors, who go on reading tours to help promote their work. The 2013 version of FICTIONistas comes with a twist, pairing each author with a knitter, and is known as FictionKNITstas!

The 2013 FictionKNITstas tour, combines the love of stitching with the love of words. Each knitter is paired with an author and knits an item that connects the author’s words with yarn and our love of knitting. The item travels the countryside with the author as she reads from her work and highlights the connection between both creative pursuits.

I was paired with Lisa-Bird Wilson – local Saskatoon author and professional – and her recently released collection of short stories (April 2013), Just Pretending. This collection of short stories was inspired by themes present in her life – identity and being Métis, family, and personal history. The knitterly result of this pairing is a Métis inspired knit sash. The Métis sash appears throughout Wilson’s short stories and holds a symbolic connection to the themes noted above.

Phillip stitches on the FictionKNITstas Metis sashSince writing and knitting are both solitary exercises in accessing the creative parts of who we are, this event spoke to me on two levels: as a writer and a knitter. I am proud to be connected to FictionKNITstas and have my knitterly work featured alongside Just Pretending.

For more information, please see:


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