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Getting Crafty with Duct Tape Bags {giveaway}

It’s really amazing the things that can be done with duct tape. Over the past couple of years this tool box staple has become a crafting material of choice, and is available in an ever-growing array of colours and patterns. Boo has acquired a fair collection. He is particularly fond of using narrow, metallic duct tape to make decorative patterns on various belongings. 
Taking this crafting up at least a couple of levels, we have this new book from indie crafter, Richela Fabian Morgan, Duct Tape Bags: 40 Projects for Totes, Clutches, Messenger Bags, and Bowlers. Fabian Morgan began crafting with duct tape 8 years ago, with simple bifold wallets, and has 3 previous duct tape craft books in print. 
This latest volume lays out clear instructions for creating 40 different bags in a variety of sizes and styles. The step-by-step directions are accompanied by photos, making it easy to follow along and feel confident you’re on the right track. Before you get started on any of the projects, an introductory section lay out the basics of working with duct tape and the tools you will need. Specific tutorials walk you through the process of creating your duct tape fabric (the base of any project), and how to attach the three different bag closures required in the projects.
The projects are gorgeous, with easy to follow directions, and beautiful photography. Perfect for all you crafty types – maybe you can even use this to make some wonderful, hand-made bags for holiday gifting?

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You can connect with Richela Fabian Morgan and see what she’s up to on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

The Giveaway

One lucky RMB winner will receive their own copy of Duct Tape Bags. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, November 26. This giveaway is open to both Canadian and US residents. Best of luck!!!

Entry-Form

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book. No financial compensation was received, and all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

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Super Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread {recipe}

With the coming of cooler temperatures, I do a lot more baking. Thankfully, my family are happy to eat what comes out of my oven, so I guess I must be doing an ok job at it. I had a few over-ripe bananas on the counter, so yesterday I whipped up one of our favourites – chocolate chip banana bread. It’s great with my coffee in the mornings, or for a snack at any time. And there’s no nuts, so it can go into school lunches too. We like to spread a little butter on ours.
The base of this recipe is from my Dad. Banana Bread was one of his specialties, so I had to get his recipe from him when I moved out oh so many years ago. The only change I’ve made is to add the chocolate chips, for an extra special touch.  Enjoy!

Super Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 ¾ cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup bananas (2)
1/3 cup salad oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Combine bananas, oil, sugar, and eggs in bowl. Beat until foamy.
Mix remaining dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Top should be browned and loaf should be pulling away from the sides of your pan. Let sit in pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
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Summer Entertaining with Ivanhoe Cheese #BornOnTheFarm

When the weather turns warm, I turn to the great outdoors. We have a nice sized back yard and a great, covered deck, which becomes my summer office and preferred entertainment area. Coffee on the deck in the morning, drinks in the evening, and as many meals out there as I can fit in. Fresh air is so good for my soul.

This summer I instituted a new tradition – Friday night drinks on the deck. It’s kind of an open invitation to my girlfriends. If it’s Friday, I’m on the deck, and there will be cocktails, wine, and snacks; everyone is welcome. I love the social aspect, and I feel like it’s a great way to take advantage of our property and our relatively short summer season.

I’ve served some different things over these past few weeks. From guacamole and chips to mini-pizzas done on the BBQ. It’s never anything fancy, but always something tasty can you pick at and nibble on while chatting and giggling with friends. And it has to easy and stress-free, because I want my focus to be on my guests and enjoying the summer breeze.

Deli trays seem to be a big hit with my girls, so I’ve done those more than once. It’s easy to buy one ready made, but not hard at all to pull one together on your own. Choose 2 or 3 favourite cheeses, a couple of sliced deli meats, olives, or grapes, and crackers. To make it super easy for your guests, choose firmer cheese and serve it already sliced or cubed.

I often see trays served with knives and the big chunks of cheese, and they look really lovely, but they make a bit more work for your guests. Pre-sliced makes snacking super easy. For this tray I used Ivanhoe Extra Old Cheddar, and Ivanhoe Salsa cheeses. Both are easily sliced and have great flavour. The Salsa is a blend of Monterey Jack & Cheddar, with salsa flavouring, bringing a tasty Tex-Mex touch to your deli tray. I added concord grapes for some sweet. And naturally we had some lovely red wine to wash it all down.

Ivanhoe is part of the Gay Lea Foods family, and has been in operation for well over a century. They began as a small co-op, specialising in artisan aged cheddars, and now produce a range of specialty cheeses including smoked gouda, horseradish cheddar, flavoured goat cheddars, and more. They have a plant in Madoc, ON, where you can visit and actually watch the cheese being made, and pick up something yummy in the Ivanhoe Country Store.

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Want to know more about the world of Gay Lea? You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Do you have a favourite summer entertaining staple? What would you serve to your guests? School may be back soon, but there’s still a lot of summer weather left to be enjoyed!

Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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WW – Passion Flower w/linky

I came across this beauty last week at the #LetsGoRama Retreat at Casino Rama. Isn’t it stunning? And terribly tropical to find in northern Ontario.  Also pretty pleased with picture #2, including the wasp. I think it’s a wasp? Let me know if you can identify it more precisely!

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It Had to Happen Eventually

Last night we let the dog out to relieve herself before bed, about 10:30. She was out just a few seconds when she came asking to be let in. Not enough time to have done anything, but likely in her mind enough to convince us to give her a treat. Scam artist. I was on the verge of sending her back out when I saw it. A flash of white under the cherry tree. Crap. A skunk.

Needless to say, I let Maxi in and thanked my lucky stars. I’d rather clean up pee than skunk spray.

Fast forward to tonight, about 11:30.

Maxi had already been out and was in bed, but Boo came downstairs so she asked to go out again (i.e., she saw an opportunity for a second bedtime treat). He let her out and pretty quickly started calling her back. “Momma, I think Maxi is chasing something.”  Yep. Tonight the skunk was back and Maxi got far enough into the yard to see it.

She saw. She chased. She got sprayed.

I could smell it as soon as I got to the door. Then I saw her frantically rubbing her head and face in the grass.

It’s way too late at night to be dealing with this.

We’ve been in this house 12 years, and we know there are lots of wild creatures in the neighbourhood, including skunks. But we’ve never had any of our animals get sprayed. I guess it had to happen eventually.

Last year. When I still thought skunks were cute. At least once their stinky gland has been removed.

I yelled to Boo to start the tub as I attempted to keep Maxi off any soft surface. Hubs went online to research remedies while I gave her an initial bath. It might not be the most effective thing, but it wouldn’t hurt, and it kept her contained.

One good wash during the research phase, with lots of doggie shampoo. Hubs found info that essentially said speed is of the essence – you need to get to the oily spray before it dries, so at least we had that one covered. The advice suggested using tomato juice, which I’ve heard before, but we have none, or mouthwash, which I hadn’t heard, but we do have on hand.

I felt a little mean making Maxi stay in the tub while it drained and refilled and Hubs went to retrieve the mouthwash from the other bathroom. But really she brought this on herself.

Doused her in minty mouthwash and let it sit for a bit. Then another good lather and a lot of rinsing in clear water. She smells pretty good now, but we’re not convinced where we’ll let her sleep tonight. I am voting for putting her dog bed in a bathroom and closing the door.

Oh! Which brings up a piece of advice. If your dog is like ours, she goes immediately from the bath to a bed, the better to dry off by rolling around in the soft sheets. If you are bathing your dog after a skunk spray incident, I recommend you close every door you can, to shut off any access to upholstered furniture, carpet, textiles, etc. Just in case the bathing doesn’t quite do the trick.

And – before you attempt to wrangle your pet into the tub, either strip yourself down or haul on some old clothes you don’t mind throwing out if needed.

The article we found actually suggested not letting your dog in the house if at all possible (obviously not an option we would go for). I can see why. The whole darn house smells like skunk. Or at least it did. We’ve sprayed the heck out of place with Febreze, and I have a Lampe Berger going now as well. But the smell has worked its way up into my nose and it will likely be days before I’m convinced the house is ok. I considered turning off the A/C and opening the windows to air out, but considering the stench in the backyard, that’s not a great option.

So, wish us well. In the morning I’m heading out to pick up skunk shampoo and tomato juice. Maybe if we have those on hand it won’t happen again? Maybe?

It’s a good thing she’s cute.

UPDATE: She is dumber than I think she is, apparently.  I checked for the skunk before I opened the door tonight, didn’t see it, so I let her out. And suddenly there’s a skunk and she’s chasing it and I’m yelling and she gets sprayed. Again. Right in her eye apparently, given how she was squinting. Another bath. Another round of Febreze. From now on she goes out on a leash after dark. And I need another bottle of Scope. Did I mention I didn’t make it to the pet store today? Sigh.

Thanks for your tips and sympathy!