Category Archives: Sweet

Love At First Bite – Sweetness Sundays

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Pinaloves Organic Bakery, Cookie Varieties

As a newly born vegan for 2013, I can tell you that the transition to vegan cooking has been a purely pleasurable experience for me. I love getting in the kitchen and being creative. Making hot cereal masterpieces with whole grains and fruits, delicious cold grain salads for lunch with decadent avocados and black beans, discovering a million ways to use my newly stocked spice rack while making slow cooker creations for dinner. It takes me back to all the things that landed me in Culinary School at college, that one year of knowledge has never left me, although I did move on to Nursing, my true passion.

Almond Crescents, Gluten Free, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

The only thing I have yet to attempt is vegan baking. Not because I don’t like baking, or because I lack the equipment. Although I must admit that the top of my wish list is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and a new Cuisinart, as I have neither. What has stopped me is all the ingredients you need to stock up on, many not found in any regular grocery store, in order to make something that is comparable to other home baked fare. I have stocked up on things like Molasses, Organic Cane Sugar, Flax Seeds, Dates, Dried Fruits and Nuts, and Organic All Purpose Flour. I have hunted down Almond Flour, Brown Rice Flour, and Agave Syrup. I have the Maple Syrup and Vegan Margarine in my fridge. I even got the Egg Replacement Mix and a spice grinder in order to make some of the more tricky ingredients. But for the life of me, I have yet to find a recipe to which I can say, “yes, I have all the ingredients I need, let’s bake this baby up!”

Gluten Free – Chocolate and Floral Cookie Collection, $32.00 USD on Etsy.

My brother, being super thoughtful, came for dinner a few weeks back and came in with a few groceries I had needed, surprised me with a box of vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were in a shelf stable box, looked pretty decent on the package, I read the label just to be sure they were vegan, and dove in to try one. Well, they were pretty good, not great, not like my mother’s baking, which is legend – wait for it – dary. But they were certainly the most treat-like thing I had had since going vegan. The problem, the box contained exactly 12 cookies, no bigger than a dollar Loonie coin, and it cost more than six dollars, with tax included. Twelve tiny cookies, average at best, at that price? It seemed insane to me, I knew that I either needed to find a new source of baked goods, or I had better make them myself.

A Platter of Delicious Cookies from Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

So as I have been collecting up vegan cookbooks, and looking at the list of ingredients I need to have on hand, I have also been spending a lot of time searching the web for a recipe to start out with.  I have been grabbing up the ingredients I find when I shop, and have got a good number of things in the pantry now, but not everything, not yet.

Boxed Love from Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

Now, many of you know I spend way more time on Etsy than is healthy for my pocketbook. I am always on the lookout fabulous items that I then must have in my life. After all, what would Foraging For Fab be without Etsy and all the other handmade sellers of wonderful. So every now and again I have a look for vegan goods, particularly from close locations, and when it comes to edibles, Canadian sellers are a must.  So there I was, searching out vegan sources of yummy, and up popped a new seller. The pictures looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to me, and gosh, they were from Montreal, Quebec; right here in Canada. And so I discovered Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

Sunflower Oats British Biscuits – Organic, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

These cookies, or little bites of heaven, as I now refer to them come in a variety of amazing flavors and types, and are made to suit many dietary restrictions or needs, not just vegan.  Pina also bakes up batches of Sugar Free, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free treats, in addition to her Vegan offerings.  The cookies are just like the classic home-made versions you love at Holiday Parties or Special Events, but they are something you can enjoy any day of the week with a cup of coffee or a herbal tea.

Vegan – Fruit & Spice Cookie Collection, $42.00 USD on Etsy.

I ordered up a mixed box of cookies, Vegan Fruit and Spice Mix, which held at least 75 biscuits, and a smaller package of 12 Chocolate Pistachio Squares. I quickly got a message back from Pina saying they would be baked up first thing the next morning and then sent out as soon as possible that day.  I have never ordered bakery products through the mail before, so I promptly forgot when to expect them, and went on with my day.

Irish Coffee Whiskey Sandwich Cookie – Vegan, $11.00 USD on Etsy.

When the package arrived before lunch time, just 3 days after my order was placed, I was doing a little happy dance in my apartment. They looked absolutely lovely, just as they were pictured in the Etsy Listings. There was even a little surprise inside the box, a new sandwich cookie recipe a Vegan Irish Coffee Whiskey delight, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. It was all so perfectly packaged, I even took some pictures with my phone to show my friends and family, or make them drool, either way I was too happy to notice.

Vegan – Chocolate Pistachio Squares, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

I decided to try one of the Chocolate Pistachio Squares right away. I am not very good at delaying gratification when it comes to cookies, or most other things to be honest. I was hooked from the very first bite. These cookies are special, they have that perfectly home made love baked in feel to them. They taste delicious, they look so pretty yet in-perfect, the way homemade cookies do, and they just hit the right spot with all that I was looking for in a vegan treat. I had to read the label again to be sure it was in fact a vegan product, it was just too much like a crumbly buttery chocolate refrigerator cookie from my pre-vegan days.

Love Lemon – Gluten Free Sandwich Cookies, $11.00 USD on Etsy.

I quickly headed to my office so that I could leave feedback for Pinaloves Organic Bakery on Etsy, just too happy to wait a minute longer to tell everyone how very special these cookies are. I also checked out the Pinaloves Organic Bakery Website and Shop, where I got even more thrilled to learn about all the other wonderful things going on at Pinaloves, and got a lot of great information from the shop’s FAQ page. There is very specific information about the ingredients and the different dietary specialty cookies that they bake, among other yummy looking cakes and pastries. There are different package sizes, box combinations, and varieties available to suit any need.

Gluten Free – Chocolate and Floral Cookie Collection, $32.00 USD on Etsy.

I then caught a ride over to the shop’s Etsy Page, and left a little thank-you note with Pina and company, just so appreciative of the speed and professionalism ascribed to my order, and the joy these cookies brought me.

Cholesterol Free, Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Loaves with Chocolate Ganache

I think the best thing about these cookies and treats is that they cater to some very specific dietary needs, but they are so delicious that everyone will love them, and no one has to feel left out. The Diabetic can have their Biscotti with morning coffee. The individuals with  wheat allergies or Celiac Disease, can have their pick of amazing cookies and treats. Those who are Lactose Intolerant or have milk allergies can indulge without fear. The Vegan can have her cookies and love every single cruelty-free and nutritious bite!

Spelt Hazelnut Almond Cookies – Gluten Free, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

Now, before you get all suspicious about the excessive compliments I am sending the Pinaloves people, I will balance things out a little by saying that these cookies are not free, they are priced in my mind accordingly for the quality of the ingredients, and the time and love put into every one.  They are likely not the thing you will be able to have on hand just for nibbling on any old day of the week. They would make perfect hostess gifts, and would be an impressive thing to put out at parties. The smaller packages of a dozen or so cookies are more likely to an indulgent weekday treat for you and a friend or two, the boxes are a brilliant luxury for special occasions. If you happen to live in Montreal and can get access to these cookies without having them delivered, I think you will find yourself making frequent trips to get your cookie fix.

Sugar Free Biscotti by Pinaloves, $14.00 USD on Etsy.

The only other issue is that these cookies are just to good to last for long in your home. While my large order of goodies lasted about a week, shared with company and my sweet-tooth aside,  they are hard to resist or put away, they are just too delicious, and my sweet starved inner vegan-child pretty much dictated how many of these delicious bites I dove into at a sitting. It is best I not mention that, it’s embarrassing how little self-control I have most days.

Gluten Free – Pistachio Cookies, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

Don’t let that stop you from ordering them though, and don’t delay in checking out Pinaloves Organic Bakery’s Website, Etsy Shop, or Facebook page to catch even more pictures of the delicious offerings available freshly baked and directly to your home. I can assure you they will be baked and shipped with all the love and care you could hope for, and they will become fast favorites of anyone who is lucky enough to sample them.

Vegan Rosemary Raisin Sables, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

You can either buy through Etsy, or shop the online store, whichever mode you happen to prefer.  I have every reason to believe that the service and kind customer care that you will receive, even if it is just asking a question, will surpass your expectations. If you have a local vegan or specialty bakery, by all means give them a visit, the point is to support the small bakeries that are working very hard to establish themselves and serve quality goods made with care, conscious, and attention to detail, and stop buying shelf stable and overpriced goods where possible. Going local isn’t just about produce at the farmer’s market, it means buying things that are made close to home to avoid all the damage that can be done to the environment by shipping boxes of boxes from country to country over land and sea.

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Cookies, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

I am now going to resist temptation and skip ordering another batch of Pinaloves goodies, at least for today, no promises about tomorrow though. Maybe one day, when I have been making my own vegan baked-goods, I can hope to be as good as the crew at Pinaloves Organic Bakery. If not, well, I am going to get very friendly with the mail-person bringing me boxes full of love on a regular basis. Hope you enjoyed your own Sweet Sunday!

Pinaloves Organic Bakery, Logo & Website Address.

Sweetness That Lingers On Your Fingers – Sweetness Sundays

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Vanilla Mint Mousse All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

  Today’s sweet post is achingly tempting to look at, these images look good enough to eat. If I told you I had a big thick bar of wonderful handmade chocolate – you’d be drooling – if I added the word “soap“, you would look at me as if I was insane. Maybe I am a little insane, but luckily that is not the topic of this blog post, today it all about the amazingly beautiful art of handmade soap.  Often made with the most pure and natural of ingredients and scented in any number of combination, these stunning blocks of bliss are all about getting hands on. 

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by SV Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Vanilla Soap Vegan Cold Processed Butter Blend Handmade Olive Oil Shea Butter Romantic Cottage Style by A Breath Of French Air on Etsy.
Gardenia and Fresh Honey Handmade Soap UK by Soap Dragon on Etsy.
1 Bar of All Natural Blushing Jasmine Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by Ocracoke Soap Company on Etsy.
Anise (Licorice) Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Maple Pecan Streusel Soap – Sweet Vanilla, Warm Syrup, Southern Pecan by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.

We live in a suddenly germ phobic society. We have managed to add “antibacterial” ingredients to just about every home product, from dish soap to all purpose cleaners. Do you actually know what constitutes that “antibacterial” property? You guessed it, it a bunch of harsh chemicals kids! As a nurse, I actually had to study how to properly and safely wash my hands, and I can tell you, the most important part of hand washing is not the chemicals in the soap, it is the length of time you spend lathering and the friction of rubbing the bacteria and dirt from your hands.

Lemongrass Mint Essential Oil Soap / Cold Process Handmade Soap Bar / Chunky by barebare all natural on Etsy.
Sweet Red Clover Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Sweet Grapefruit Vegan Soap by Gold Creek Soap on Etsy.
Japanese Peppermint Soap – Handmade Shea Butter Vegan – Perfectly Pink for Valentine’s Day by Kreated by Karina on Etsy.
Sweet Summer Rose Soap Bar – 5 oz. by Gourmet Soaps on Etsy.
Handmade Soap – Brown Sugar & Fig – Wild Figs, Maple Sugar, Musk (Cold Process Soap) by Petals Bath Boutique on Etsy.

It doesn’t matter how much antibacterial soap you use, if you have handled the taps and and door knobs with dirty hands, and you don’t spend enough time scrubbing your hands, drying them, and touch only ‘clean’ surfaces after washing, you are just wasting your money and throwing a pile of chemicals down the pipes into our water system.

Green Apple Handmade Soap by Pink Parchment Soaps on Etsy.
GINGER SOUFFLE Scented, Natural Vegan and Handmade Glycerine Soap with ALOE Vera by Olivia Morgana on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap, Sweet Almond Cookie, 5 oz. Scrub Bar with Rolled Oats and Almond Oil, Handmade Herbal Soap by Hammer and Coil on Etsy.
Sweet Oranges and Cinnamon Spice Handmade Cold Process Soap by Dogwood Rose Studio on Etsy.
Pomegranate Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Groovy Garden Cold Process Soap – Palmarosa, Patchouli, & Sweet Orange Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.

I don’t use antibacterials in my home, it is a conscious decision. I am not interested in adding any more chemicals to my life or the ecosystem.  Not only that, but I have done my own research into the issue, and even the FDA has acknowledged that the use of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers has not been linked to any sign of a decline in infection rates among it’s users, not any statistically significant shift in all the years since it’s proliferation. Not one bit of evidence suggests that using an antibacterial soap will make you any less likely to become ill or shorten an illness period. In fact, many anecdotal studies suggest that the perceived benefits of antibacterials and hand sanitizers actual has led to less effective hand washing.

Sticky Sweet Caramel Soap – Caramel Apple Scent by AJSweetSoap on Etsy.
Sweet Orange and Vanilla Soap by Annie and Elmo on Etsy.
Apple Cider Soap – Eden’s Allure Handmade Soap – Juicy Apples and Sweet Spices Scented Soap by Body Language Soaps on Etsy.
Lime and Herb Handmade Soap with Shea Butter by Hidden Blessings on Etsy.
Satsuma – Japanese Mandarin Handmade Goat’s Milk And Shea Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Rhiannon, Handmade Soap – Lavender, Bergamot, & Lemon – Cold Process, Essential Oil Bar (Natural, Vegan) by Sacred Suds on Etsy.

If you wash your hands before meals and as needed, and you do it properly, you will have an edge over any anti-bacterial or anti-microbial soap sold in the grocery store.  We are more likely to pass on infections if we put our faith in a bottle of soap as opposed to the common sense that says to slow down, do the job right and well the first time. Our grandparents used the most basic of soaps, many times simple glycerin soaps, and they were often much healthier than we are. We seem a society intent on creating super-bugs, germs that can foil our most basic cleansers and bacteria that make antibiotics useless for those who desperately need them to work.

Soap – Sweet Orange Salt Bar Circle Bar – All Natural Glycerin Soap by Sunbasilgarden Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Indulgence Soap – Made With Shea Butter and Sweet Natural Chocolate Valentines Day Gift by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.
Cranberry Orange – Handmade Goat Milk and Cocoa Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Sweet Lemon Cream Soap Handmade Cold Process, Vegan Friendly by Blushie on Etsy.
Sea Salt Caramels Handmade Cold Process Soap – Soap Bar by Lippincott Soap Co. on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Soap Handmade Soap by Comfort and Joy Soap Co. on Etsy.

So back to these beautiful bars of soap, and a simple question, why buy the bottled soaps that all contain chemicals for fragrance, bacteria reduction, and color, when you can  buy a gorgeous bar of Eco-friendly soap in a color or fragrance that is naturally lovely, and does the job just as well, if not better.  Washing your hands becomes a pleasurable experience when you slow down, roll the bar in your hands, develop a bit of a lather and that lovely scent begins to build.

Sweet Orange Patchouli Soap by Body Luminosity on Etsy.
Green Tea Citrus – Handmade Soap by Dirty Deeds Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Dream Handmade Soap with Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, and Goats Milk by EcoSations on Etsy.
Fresh Orange and Papaya Clear Glycerine Soap, Luxury, Delicate Feminine Fruity Sweet Fresh – Yellow Perfect Gift by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
All Natural And Vegan Sweet Orange Clove Soap, Two 5oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.

Whether it is the lightest of vanillas, or a rich patchouli, a citrus twist or a floral bouquet, you can find a handcrafted bar of soap to match your personal tastes. Perfume does go “off”, the alcohol it it turns, and you may be wasting your money by spending a fortune on a scent you rarely wear. Using a naturally scented soap will leave a lovely scent on your skin or body, and it will linger in that gentle way that good fragrance should. People that get close may notice it, they may wonder what smells so wonderful and can’t pin it down, and they may begin to associate that scent with you and you alone. Not a scent lover? There are also plenty of unscented all natural bars available too.

Almond Marzipan Poppy Seeds Goats Milk Glycerin Soap, Scrub Peeling Moisture – For Him or Her by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
Creamy Pear Handmade Vegan Soap Large Bar by Crown of Rue on Etsy.
Goat’s Milk Oatmeal and Honey Cold Process Soap with Shea Butter – Sale Benefits the SweetBea Fund by Lake House Soapworks on Etsy.
100& Natural Orange Honey Blossom Soap Bar – 5oz. Organic & Fair Trade by ZABANA ESSENTIALS on Etsy.
Sweet Honeysuckle – Shea Butter Handmade Soap by Loves Lather on Etsy.
Hot Process Apple Sauce Soap – Old Fashioned Sweet Apple Cinnamon Hot Process Soap Super Sudsy by Soap For Your Soul on Etsy.

If you have been scrolling through these amazingly gorgeous photos of some of the most appetizingly sweet bars of soap, you might like to know that not only are these soaps gentle to the environment, but gentle to your body. Some are organic, others are vegan friendly, but whatever your reasons for buying handmade soap might be, never allow the perceived cost to hold you back. Most of these bars are priced around the $5 USD per/bar range, depending on the ingredients and the size of the bar.  It works out to about $1 per oz. of handcrafted soap, there are few artisan goods that are this affordable in price. You can sometimes get bars for much less if you purchase a sampler or multiple bars at a time.  Find a vendor that is located close to you, in the geographic sense, and you will not only save on shipping, but also leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Sandalwood Vanilla Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Papaya Handmade Shampoo Bar, Vegan by Sweets N Things on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Goats Milk Soap by Country Soaps By Marlene on Etsy.
Lavender Oat Face & Body Bar (100% Organic Oils.Butters) by StoLat Organics on Etsy
Coffee Soap – Kitchen Soap – Exfoliation Soap – Cold Process by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Canela & Vanilla Cream – Cinnamon – Goat’s Milk Soap by Five Sisters Soap Company on Etsy.

These soaps would make the most welcome of home-warming gifts, and there is nothing better to give a new parent who has their hands on the delicate skin of a new baby all day and night, or to a friend who is under the weather.  These soaps are great gifts for teachers, friends, and the people you love. Everybody needs to wash their hands, this is not just a ‘girl’ thing, men deserve fresh smelling natural soaps too.

Mango Shea Butter Soap by So Stinking Sweet on Etsy.
Orange Cream Cold Press Soap – Warm & Sweet – 100% Natural by Get Clean on Etsy.
Honey Almond (EO) Handmade Soap 4oz. Bar by FB Essentials on Etsy.
Peach – Handmade Cold Process Soap by DECA Candle and Bath on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Scented Organic Cold Process All Natural Soap by Rustico Natural on Etsy.

If you have a fragrance free workplace, and can’t wear perfume, it can be hard to find unscented soaps and shampoo. Many of these artisans offer unscented natural bars that are lovely to look at and use, but so very gentle to the skin with only the scent of the body friendly ingredients left behind. If you knit, sew, or crochet, thing of how often your hands touch those delicate wools and fabrics, wouldn’t you rather have a mild and natural scent on your fingers when you work on something so precious for someone equally precious?

Grapefruit & Marzipan Handmade Soap (One Bar) by Chemical Teatime on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap “Monkey Bars” Handmade Cold Process (Banana, Strawberry, Kiwi, & More!) by Moeggenborg Sugar Bush on Etsy.
Sugared Almond Exfoliating Handmade Soap by Silver Maple Soaps on Etsy.
Miss Maple – Organic Maple Syrup / Soft Golden Sugar Soap Handmade, Natural – Plus Beautiful Postcard by Soapstar Canada on Etsy.

Sweet Cherry Almond Oatmeal Handmade Soap by Pegasus Soaps on Etsy.

 Treat yourself to a bar of handmade soap today, there is no reason to wait. Pick one that is appealing to the eye as well as the nose, and don’t be afraid to give up the “anti-bacterial” chemical soap.  The only people who need to use harsh chemicals to clean their hands are surgeons and other healthcare workers when they are AT WORK.  Even this nurse will tell you that once I walk into my home after work, the last thing I want to see is yet another bottle of harsh soap.  Give me a bar of gentle soft butter smooth soap that makes me remember I am a person whose hands do more than perform various procedures, give me a scent that makes me smile with pleasure, the simple pleasure that we all deserve to enjoy. Grab yourself a bar or two of lovely handmade soap and be sweet to yourself, your family, and mother earth.

NY Black and White Snickerdoodle All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

All-Natural Sweet Tea And Honey Soap, Two 5 oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.
Spice Cake – Clove, Cassia & Sweet Orange Cold Process Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap Bar – Spice Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Cold Process Soap – One 4-5 Ounce Body Bar by Long Leaf Soaps on Etsy.
Yellow Mandarin, Sweet Orange Peel and White Peach – All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

Best Friends Forever – Sweetness Sundays

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We have all, at some time or other, been grateful for our true friends. Not just our acquaintances, but the people who know us sometimes even better than our own families do.  If you have a best friend, or several, you know that these relationships are very special. Sometimes these relationships start in childhood, others form later in life. Our best friends can be neighbors, sometimes they are actually family members, a close aged cousin or sibling, and sometimes they are even our spouses.  Whomever you call your best friend, make sure they know how very special they are to you. [All Item/Image Credits And Details Follow At Bottom of Post]

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We did it easily in childhood, we would ‘claim’ our best friends as such in front of classmates or contemporaries. We would hold their hands, share secrets, have sleepovers, and they would be the person we saved a seat for at the lunch table or at our birthday parties.  As adults, it is somewhat more difficult to express publicly our friendly affections without it feeling a bit odd, we may hug them hello or give them a quick squeeze when we say goodbye, but we often assume they understand how much they mean to us.

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 Sometimes they do know, and that is perfectly wonderful. But no best friend ever complained that they heard too often how much they mattered in another persons life.  Often the times we most rely on these friends are the hardest moments in our lifetimes.  When we suffer the loss of a loved one, when we go through a trauma, when we end a significant relationship.  During those times, we are often not in a place to be aware just how much we are dependent on our very best friend.

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These are the people that make us laugh at ourselves and know just what to say to make us know they are happy just to be with us when we are miserable. Think about the last time you laughed till you cried, laughed so hard that your sides hurt and you doubled over, was it your best friend that made your sides split?

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Real friends would never complain of it being a burden, they understand that the nature of the best friend relationship is based in the reciprocity it allows. We are there for them when they need us, and they are there for us in our hard times, that is just the way it works, at least with true best friends. One-sided relationships are often exhausting and rarely last, but a true best friendship is one of the most sacred bonds we may ever know.  Therefore, today’s Sweetness Sundays post is dedicated to that sweet relationship known as the Best Friend.

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Children have become hooked on the term “BFF“, meaning Best Friends Forever. We can blame that lovely little bit of terminology to the likes of Paris Hilton, who popularized it on her TV reality show. Teens often refer to their best friends as “Besties“, I hear that term quite frequently from my neices. Adults tend to drop the “Best” part, we know who our closest friends are and don’t want to make any of our general acquaintance feel awkward by pointing it out.  Whatever we call them, whoever they are, make sure you make a point this Valentine’s Day of telling your best friend(s) that you love them.

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Valentine’s Day, in my mind, is a day we celebrate love in all it’s forms, not merely romantic love.  We are expected to send cheesy cards to our spouse, partner, or significant other. Parents often remember their children on St. Valentine’s Day, and children often pepper their entire classroom full of peers with themed printed Valentine’s Day cards.  If you want to really show your friends you care, take a lesson from any parent of young children, there is nothing more precious than something hand-made with love and care.

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If you aren’t crafty, well that’s where the good news comes in, there are lots of people who are. You can find heaps of lovely best friend ‘themed’ gifts and cards on Etsy and other on-line sources.  Personally, I choose to feature Etsy vendors often because I find the process of shopping Etsy to be so simple. The descriptions are usually very clear, you can see what you are getting and the images are often so beautiful and attractive that you can get a real sense of the objects special qualities, and you can almost always pay securely by PayPal.  Today’s post is packed with amazing items celebrating the special friendships in our lives, and no matter what your age, you can never tell your friends enough just how much they are valued.

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If your child has a best friend, or if you know a child that does, make sure you encourage them to acknowledge the relationship for how special it is.  We may have many best-friends throughout a lifetime, but the value of the relationship is a certainty.  Call your best friend today and tell them how much you care and how much they mean to you. Now isn’t that sweet?

  1. BFF Chain Link Hat & Wristmarmer Set Crochet PATTERN Fits 4T – Preteen PDF 121 by Kristine Mullen, Ambassador Crochet on Etsy.
  2. Little Girls’ BFF Matching Hand Bags by ZeeaDarling, FilthyCute Boutique on Etsy.
  3. Best Friends Necklaces BFF – Oreao Cookie Necklace – Cute Necklaces – Kawaii Heart Charms – Best Friend Jewelry by Kawaii Desu Ne, oh, it’s cute! on Etsy.
  4. Best Friend Art Print – Home Room Decor – Gift For Friend – 8×10 Print by Jordan Eaks, Something Beautiful Photography on Etsy.
  5. Best Friend, Sister Art Print – HUMAN NATURE by Shira Sela, Shirae on Etsy.
  6. Best Friends Necklace – Two Necklaces by Mary Beth Heishman, I Adorn U on Etsy.
  7. Friendship Art Print – Best Friends – Archival – Limited Edition Print -8×8 – 2 divided by 2 equals by cori dantini by Cori Dantini, corid on Etsy.
  8. Best Friends Art Print Room Decor – You Are My Best Friend Ever – 8×10 Art Print by Ortal, 2010 Gifts For All on Etsy.
  9. Set Of Two Best Friend Enamel Owl Necklaces – Hand Stamped Necklace Best Friends Gift by Kristen, Kikiburra Beads on Etsy.
  10. B.F.F. 11×15.5 Giclee Print – Best Friends, Girlfriends, Sisters, Contemporary Art, Friendship, Love by Jahna Vashti on Etsy.
  11. Best Friends – Boys – 8×10 Archival Print by Rosy Designs Online on Etsy.
  12. Two Peas in a Pod Best Friends Necklaces, Mother Daughter Necklaces, Sisters Necklaces by Dragon Fly Tears on Etsy.
  13. Best Friends Handmade Fabric Dolls by Laura Hunter, Roving Ovine on Etsy.
  14. Custom BFF Best Friend Art Print Set // 8×8 by Kate Gabrielle, Flapper Doodle on Etsy.
  15. Hand Stamped Bestie BFF ONE WORD Best Friends Cuff Bracelet Aluminum Set of 2 Friendship by Kitty, Always A Memory on Etsy.
  16. You Plus Me Equals Awesome, Awesome Print, Wedding Print, 8×10, Best Friends. Custom Colors Available by Rose, Pumpkin and Butterfly on Etsy.
  17. Best Friend Greeting Card by Alisson Burda, Artsy Fartsy on Etsy.
  18. BFF Necklace Set in Teal by Jessica Marshall, Jessica Marshall Jewelry on Etsy.
  19. Greeting Card… Best Friends by Christa Howard, C Howard Designs on Etsy.
  20. Available for Pre-Order Only, Set of 2 Best Friends Initial Letter Bow Necklaces, Limited Edition by Indie Meadow on Etsy.
  21. Best Friends Postcard by Sophie Parker on Etsy.
  22. The Best Friends Girls Art Print by Claudia Tremblay, Print Illustrations on Etsy.
  23. Seahorse Buddies – Best Friend Necklace Set by Wishbowl Jewelry on Etsy.
  24. Gumby and Pokey Best Friends Black and White Wall Art Mexican Framed Print by Michael Dexter, DexMex on Etsy.

Sweets For My Sweet – Sweetness Sundays

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A short but very sweet post today, all about the heavenly confections that make life, well, sweet. Most people feel comfortable attempting to bake or cook in their kitchens, but making candy and sweets is still a little daunting to even the most seasoned chefs. Candy isn’t like most kitchen arts, it requires a lot of practice, careful control of temperature and timing, and often special equipment for molding or shaping your creations.  It is for that reason most of us find it easier to buy candy at the corner store or market.

Rolled Sultan Turkish Delight, Rose Flavor by ggbytech on Etsy.

If you are lucky and have a local Chocolatier, Confectioner, or Sweet Shop that churns out fresh hand-made goods, you know where this is heading. Nothing beats the real thing. Handmade candy and confections are not only free of all those preservatives and stabilizers that keep those other manufactured ‘treats’ shelf sitting for months or years on end, but they taste so much better. Often you can get unique flavor combinations that are more gourmet and appeal to a smaller group of consumers, you can also interact directly with the sweet-makers. You can ask questions about ingredients and the things that matter to you about your food, such as local suppliers, green practices, and vegan or health specific issues. Today I present to you a virtual sampler of some beautiful hand-made confections that you can order on-line and enjoy with your valentine(s). At the very least, it may send you looking for you own local sweet shops. Have a “Sweet” Sunday.

Sweet Honeydew, Vegan Handmade Hard Candy by Von Dulce on Etsy.

Organic Freckled Strawberry Marshmallows,  All Natural, Gluten and Egg Free, Kosher by The Realist Mermaid on Etsy.

Simple Chocolate Dipped Pear, Handmade Fresh To Order by Sugar Queen Sweets on Etsy.

Pretty In Pink, Pearl Embellished Hard Candy Lollipops – Made To Order by  Vintage Confections on Etsy.

Rocky Road Fudge, Made Fresh to Order by Fudge Face on Etsy.

Cupcake Crystal Hard Candy Lollipops, Pink Bubblegum by Sweet Lollipop Shop on Etsy.

Valentine’s Day Gift Box of Assorted French Nougat Candies in 5 Flavors, All Natural No Preservatives by Kettle Confections on Etsy.

Lemon Mocha Truffles Worth Puckering Up For, Made in Canada – Semi Sweet Chocolate, Nut Free by My Hands Are Busy on Etsy.

Soft Caramels, 1/2 Pound, Sweet Soft and Buttery by Bubble Gum Art Company on Etsy.

 Vegan Chocolate Fruit Cremes, 7 Flavors, Covered in German Chocolate – Made To Order by Hippie Cakes on Etsy.

Cookie Lovers Delight, Hand Dipped and Drizzled Double Stuff Oreos by Sweet Sophia’s Creations on Etsy.

Motley Mode Mondays – Get Tied To These Apron Strings

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One of the reasons I love holidays at my parents home, is that my mother always cooks up a storm. She is a great cook, a wonderful homemaker, and she always wears an apron. You know the one I mean, the one that closely resembles something bought in a hardware store except is is made out of some floral chintz. It’s either that, or one with a kitschy slogan emblazoned across her bosoms, neither one is particularly flattering in front of company. They do what they are intended and this past October 31st, one pulled double-duty as a six-year-old’s “cape” as he went out for Halloween as Harry Potter. My mother wears them, my grandmother always wore them, we played dress-up in them as little girls. I myself haven’t worn an apron since I was in Culinary School, and that was entirely functional and frankly a confining fashion don’t.



Red Hot Polka Dot Retro Apron by Alisann Abee’s Mom, Abee’s Art Studio on Etsy.


Am I the only one of my generation that has dropped the “Apron Strings”? I suspect I am not, but what if an apron was something more than functional. What if it was beautiful, retro chic, cute, colourful, heck… even sexy? Well for today’s Fashion Focused post, I present the most delightful of Aprons, the most fabulous of kitchen couture, and the ones you are going to want to snap up in time to be able to wear them to serve up that Valentine’s Dinner for your sweetie(s). Get a gander at these Fab looks that will definitely have them “kissing the cooks“.



Sexy Schnauzer Dog Retro Apron [Reversible] by Gramma May, Gramma May Handicrafts on Etsy.



Retro Apron Green Vintage Rose Half Apron SOPHIA by Boojiboo on Etsy.



Love Birds and Sky Blue Plaid Hostess Apron by Paula, Ruffled Frenzy on Etsy.



Ruffle Retro Half Apron Teal & Grey by Diana Buznego, Designed by Diana on Etsy.



Retro Apron with Cocktails on a Black Background – Timeless Treasures Fabric by Arianne, It’s Handmade! by Arianne on Etsy.



Retro Apron With Damask and A Splash of Hot Pink by Rebecca Cruz, London’s Laundry on Etsy.



Retro Apron QUEEN Of HEARTS Women’s Full Apron by Lover Dovers Clothing on Etsy.



Retro Apron, Yellow Polka Dot on a Blue Fabric, Half Apron 1950s Inspired by Rosie Ann, Rosie Ann Shop on Etsy.



Vintage Flared Apron – Country Chic Mustard Black Cream – Flair for Cooking Hostess Apron by Great Goods on Etsy

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Retro Half Apron, Vintage Stripe by Kellie E. Edwards, ImaginAprons on Etsy.



Cute Kitsch Apron – Modern Design in Mod Kitchen Stripes and Leaves of Blue and Taupe by Creative Chics on Etsy.


Thanks for indulging me with this picture laden post, but I think most people need to see the front and the back of an Apron to get an idea of how functional it is, and it’s nice to see so many creators didn’t forget to add special details on all sides of these garments. From pockets and frills, to reversible and lined apron’s, this showcase is a great runway to launch you off to the Etsy Shops in question to get a better look.



Mens Apron / Dark Navy Denim Plaid by Erin McIntosh, Dear Edna on Etsy.


I want to add a few more Aprons to this already heavy post, but I think they are important ones. Men cook too and have just as much use, if not more, for a handsome Apron, so I have a great menswear look on deck. In addition, I think our littlest chef’s are not only adorable in Apron’s, but they can certainly use something to guard their party clothes from splashes and stains. This really is a little bit of playing dress-up for everyone, adults included. As always, this is just a small sample of available options, styles, colours, and prints available, and aprons that I personally like for various reasons. You are practically guaranteed to find the apron of your dreams at one of these Etsy Shops. So go ahead and “Get Tied To These Apron Strings“.



Children’s Aprons – A Girl and Her Horse, Pink Horse Apron by Lee Ann, Annie’s Attic on Etsy.



Toddler/Children’s Apron- Dinosaur Orange Reversible by Amber Botticello, Sprock It on Etsy.