Friday, 28 November 2014

Currently


Reading- just finished #GIRLBOSS and now am on to The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Eating- "Monet's Favourite Sandwich" rotisserie chicken with melted brie and raspberry jam on a baguette, omg

Watching- Jamie Oliver's Food Tube  

Loving- this pretty pretty blog. This is what I thought France would be like when we traveled there. It wasn't, sadly.

Making- knitted things! Taught Dave how to knit a cowl yesterday and we stayed up "late" knitting in bed together like a pair of old ladies ;)

Baking- Key Lime Cream Cake

Listening- to Mo Kenney and Dave practice the violin (oh boy!)

Looking for ward to the weekend! Have conscripted more of my friends to be my models to practice some couple-type photography. They're good sports :)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thrifted Things


It's probably no secret that I am huge fan of thrifting. Huge. On a tight budget it's the only way I can still enjoy getting new (to me) things without wasting 1/4 of my monthly budget on a single shirt. Granted, I do have to spend more time finding these things, and even if I do find something that I love there's no guarantee that it will be in my size. The past few times I've been out I've scored some crazy items, like this down-filled Roots winter coat for $8! It was originally $16 but the zipper was broken so I asked if they wouldn't mind taking some money off and the lady said "Oh dear, how about 50%?" Um YES. It felt like stealing. And the zipper my mum just fixed for me :) 



Yesterday I scored 3 pairs of shoes. I got a pair of Viking sandals (new!), some Bob's and a pair of Toms. All were $4.99 and in my size. I know right?! Some days the thrifting gods are good to me. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Knitting Success! (finally!)


So I may have said this before, but I try to learn to knit/crochet every damn fall. For about 4 years now. I've had my mum, my oma, and my friends all try to teach me, but I never get to a point where I feel comfortable enough to actually finish a project. Let's just say there are a lot of half used balls of yarn stuffed in my craft armoire.

I recently came across this post by Elise and thought ONE LAST TIME. I went out, bought some more yarn and circular needles, waited for Iris to go down for her afternoon nap, prepared myself for failure and tried to knit a 2 colour cowl. And would you know it, the dang thing actually worked! As soon as I had knitted 4 rows with no holes I did a little happy dance and proceeded to knit for the next two hours. When Iris woke up I plunked her on the floor with some toys and sat on the couch and knitted for another two hours. I knitted and knitted some more. And then I actually casted off (throwing some knitting jargon at you now) and finished it!


I'm ridiculously proud of myself.  If you're looking for an easy project you can finish in a day or two I'd highly recommend checking out Elise's tutorial. Now I'm off to make Iris a mini version ;)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Cake #7 (Red Velvet Bundt)


Ah red velvet. A lot of people I know proclaim that red velvet is their favourite cake ever. And whenever I sell anything red velvet related, it's always the first thing to go. But I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, red velvet sure does look pretty. It's probably the only cake I know of that has such an intense colour while still maintaining it's classic charm. But the actual taste? I don't know. I mean red velvet is essentially a plain buttermilk based cake with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa in it (with an equal amount of red food colouring!). Essentially a bland red chocolate cake. Ha! I bet you're dying to try this cake now!

Well wherever you fall of the red velvet spectrum you gotta admit, this cake looks pretty good. And with a good cream cheese frosting poured on top, it tastes pretty good too.


I made this one to sell at the christmas bazaar a few weekends back and it sold within the first 10 minutes. Side story: a blind woman bought it! Her husband came to my table with her on his arm and described the cake and 2 minutes later she came back saying she wanted it! Her husband must have done a great job in selling it to her ;)

Recipe used: Red Velvet Royale Cake 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Happy Mail Project Vol.1

So I've been thinking. I love receiving mail that is not bank statements or coupons. There's something very satisfying and wholesome about snail mail no? And I thought if I enjoy it so much, maybe other people would love it too? And wouldn't it be nice to give away my little nap time creations to people who may like them? I think yes!

The past few weeks during nap times I've been drawing and painting little family portraits like mad to send off in the mail. It's slightly addictive. Some people have requested one but others I've just created, hoping that when they received it it would make them happy.

What I love about this project? One, it's cheap. A stamp and some dollar store envelopes is really all I need. Two, it's way more fun to create something for another person rather than just for yourself. And three, sending off something in the mail to a unsuspecting recipient makes me do a little happy dance. I love it!


If you've requested a little portrait but haven't received it yet, have no fear it's on its way! The whole project is more or less baby-dependent (read: totally baby dependent).

I think this is something I want to keep going throughout the year. I think this will help keep me sane through the long winter at home.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Slowly Unplugging


Lately I've been thinking a lot about the whole "unplugging" thing. Let me start off by saying that I really really love the idea of unplugging. But the actual action of doing it is (embarrassingly) really difficult!  I'm a big fan of the internet. The whole blogging world is where I get about 99% of my day to day inspiration. And I don't have any interest in giving up blogging or reading blogs. But I am more interested in less mindless media consumption. I'm sure I'm not the only one who automatically opens facebook as soon as they open up their browser. Or the only one who scrolls through Instagram every hour. Ugh! I hate it! I can't even imagine how much time I've wasted doing just those two things!

A few weeks back Dave and I realized that we hadn't turned on our TV for over a week (this was crazy for us!). It definitely was a strange realization and not intentional! Dave being away at work all day and Iris becoming more aware of her surroundings are the two big reasons why I think this has happened. I used to watch Netflix whenever I had to feed Iris, but then one day she was suddenly aware of the TV and wouldn't sit and eat without squirming to face it. So I had to switch to listening to music instead while she ate. The other thing is when Dave finally gets home we want to spend the short time we have together before bed actually hanging out, and watching TV just feels like a huge time suck. So we thought, if we went a week without even missing Netflix, let's just get rid of it. So we did!  I'm not gonna lie, I was a little panicky about this at first. I mean they had just added Gilmore Girls!! But after another week I noticed we instead spent our evenings going out for walks, playing "20 Questions" on the couch, having long talks, and being more available to Iris. It was a nice feeling.

Some other things I hope to try in the next few weeks:

  • Leave my phone in the bedroom during the day. If someone calls I'll hear it, but I won't hear the text messages, new emails, or fb messenger. Or see it flash!  
  • Delete facebook from the bookmarks tab and only check it once a day
  • Clean up my instagram feed. Stick to only a few accounts that I'm really interested in seeing
  • Intentional computer time. Knowing why I'm opening up the laptop before I go on
I get that not everyone is even interested in unplugging, that a lot of people enjoy spending their nights cozy on the couch catching up on shows together , but I'm curious, is unplugging something you'd like to do? Do you find it hard? What are you giving up and what are you gaining instead?

Monday, 17 November 2014

My Little Bakery (for an afternoon)


I would love to own a bakery, but let's be real, owning a brick and mortar business is crazy hard! And expensive! So instead I play out my bakery fantasy this way.  A few times a year I'll rent a table with my mum at a craft or christmas bazaar and bake my heart out, it's the best. I started about 3 years ago and I remember being so nervous. What if no one bought anything?! What if someone else was selling baked things that looked and tasted better than mine?! Would I be able to bake everything in time?! It was totally out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I started, because now I'm hooked! 

This time I had blueberry cheesecake and spiced pumpkin cupcakes, red velvet cake pops, confetti cookie sandwiches, nutella stuffed cookies, a red velvet cake, and my latest baking obsession, french macarons. Not to brag or anything but I had a woman tell me she's eaten a lot of macarons and mine were the second best macarons she's ever had, the best being from Nadege Patisserie. Ok that totally was bragging, sorry.  But cool right?!

I never make a crazy amount of money or anything, just enough to cover my expenses and help out a bit with christmas shopping, usually around $100 profit. But to be honest, I don't really do it for the money. I love making things and the fact that people will buy and enjoy them makes my heart happy.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Read This: The Tiny Wife


I don't know how to say this without sounding melodramatic, but you really must read this book.

I'm not gonna lie, I totally picked this book up at the library mainly because I loved the cover and because it was rather short (it's very satisfying to read a book in a day or two, no?). Anyway "The Tiny Wife" by Andrew Kaufman is about a group of people who get held up at a bank, but instead of asking for money and jewellery, the thief asks for them to give up the object on them that holds the most sentimental value. Then strange things start to happen to these people in the following days. For instance, one woman turns into candy and her husband eats her. The whole story is very modern Alice in Wonderlandish and quite beautiful. Yes, I just described a book as beautiful.

So if you're looking for something new to read that's not going to take you all winter, check this one out :)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Cake #6 (Banana Chai)


Nothing fancy this time, I really was just looking for something that would go well with tea for dessert at the in-laws last week. Plus I had 3 rather black bananas I had to use up. This cake was great! If you're a fan of banana bread, then you'll probably love this slightly spicier version. 


I roughly followed this recipe and added some cream cheese frosting with a little bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top. Perfect with a cup of tea, or for breakfast. Cake for breakfast is a real thing that I have been practising most of my life. You should start too. 

My parents recently bought me bundt cake pan after hearing me complain that all my cakes are round, so be prepared for many non-flat/circular cakes, yay! 



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Big Prints for Cheap


For awhile I've been hearing about how you can get large grayscale prints done for cheap with Blueprints/Engineer prints. So I called someone at Staples last week and they told me how to order them online, which I previously could not figure out. Now there are a few things you should know about Engineer prints before you start. 

1) It only prints in grayscale on thinner than usual paper. Photos that aren't high resolution will come out a bit pixelated too. 

2) It's only about $2 for their largest size (24 inches x 36 inches). Crazy right?! 



For our latest gallery wall I used Engineer Prints for the dancing nun, the Ernest Hemingway quote, and the photo of Dave and Iris. The dancing nun was just a photo I found online, not very large at all and it blew up just fine. Up close it's kinda pixelated but you can't even tell from a foot away.

How To:

First you need to get on staplescopyandprint.ca and upload the pictures/ documents you want printed. After you do that it'll bring you to a screen that looks like this:


From here click on the Finish Size and pick one of the last 3 sizes. These are the only one that can be printed as "Engineer Prints".  Make sure to click the "Best Fit" underneath so it doesn't stretch your photo! As of now it'll tell you your print will cost something ridiculous like $29.99.



Next, go down to the Print Colour and choose B/W Engineering and watch the price go down! The picture they show you will look pixelated but don't worry about that.

That's it! Granted this only works if you're looking for black and white copies but I'm really pleased with how they turned out. And all 3 only cost me $5!

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Gallery Wall (from start to finish)



MAN! Let me start off by saying this whole project took a long time. Collecting/making the photos/art/prints, finding the frames, painting the frames and hanging it all took about a month. But I think I can now say, it was totally worth it! In total (frames, candle sticks, and prints) the entire wall cost me about $40.

If you're interested in how I did it from start to finish, here was my process.

1) Figure out what you want to hang. For me I knew right away I wanted to incorporate a nun in there somehow so I blew up a large photo of a jovial nun dancing with 2 little boys (more on that later), I also blew up a photo of Dave and Iris, so between those 2 I had 2 large pieces. Next I had some instax photos, a photo booth photo of my mum when she was a teenager, some vintage valentines from the 40's from my MIL, a water colour portrait of the family, and a few printed photos.

2) Get frames. Lots of them. I thrifted all of my frames, looking for ones that had large white mats already in them that were framed in wood or something I could spray paint black. Don't pay more than $10 tops for a large frame, as every thrift store sells them and you can probably get it cheaper somewhere else.

3) Arrange it on the floor first. Once I had everything in a frame I spent some time laying it out on the floor how I wanted it and then took a photo.


4) Trace each frame on paper and then tape those to the wall. This step took foreveeeeeeer, but I think it made a big difference. One thing I made sure to do was label each "frame" so I would remember which was what.

5) Add the nails! I would just flip the frames over to see where the nail would hang and then eyeballed it on the paper "frames". After I nailed them in, I ripped the paper off and replaced it with the real frame. (I did this last night, hence the photo quality)






I'm pretty pumped with how this turned out! I'll be back tomorrow with how I got some of my larger prints done for CRAZY CHEAP!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cake #5 (Vanilla Raspberry)


Well I'm not gonna lie. This one came out way better than I expected. Last night I baked up some vanilla cake layers and left them overnight, not knowing what to do with them. I had a small piping bag of leftover buttercream and 3 different jars of jam in the fridge so I went with those! I guess you could call this a leftovers cake? 

To make this one a little different I tried slicing each layer into 2. Which was waaaaaay easier than I thought it would be. I saw online somewhere that sticking a toothpick at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 on the middle of the outer edges of the cake (does that even make sense?) helps to guide the knife as you cut. Worked like a charm!



I used jam loosened with a bit of hot water to fill in between the layers and since the leftover piping bag had a decorating tip in it already, I just iced the top with as many roses I could get out of it. Unfortunately this left a rather large hole in the top, but I just filled that with more jam. There's a lot of jam going on here. I haven't tried it yet (I'm waiting for dessert tonight, which is not like me at all) but I'm thinking how can this not taste good? 

1/4 of the way there! I'm going to be so sick of cake after this is over.



Monday, 3 November 2014

Watercolour Family Portraits


Lately I've been itching to update the art in the living room. I did some family portraits a few years back which I'm still into, but I was hoping for something that had all three of us in one painting. After looking online for some inspiration I came across this site that sells custom watercolour family portraits. Starting at $80 for 2 people, it was definitely something I could not afford. But the style was pretty simple so I thought to myself "I could totally do that!". 

I started by coping one of hers to get the feel for it then did a few using my own designs and poses from photos I had. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out! I'm thinking these would be great gifts, so I started doing a few rough ones of friends (with their signature red Hunter boots). I figure if they turn out, I can gift them, and if they don't, well it's good practice :) 


I foresee much painting in my future :)

P.S Let me know, if you'd like one!
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