Saturday, 25 July 2015

Thoughts on the 20 Cake Challenge

Remember when I made 20 cakes? I started it as a way to push myself out of my comfort zone, baking wise, and try a long term project. Here are some thoughts I have looking back on it:
  • 20 cakes is a lot of cakes
  • while I love the look of a completely frosted cake, a simple frosting topped cake is way easier
  • speaking of easier, the loaf cake is my new favourite cake shape
  • don't knock the cake mix! Although I would obviously want to make and eat a cake from scratch, cake mixes are good when you want to try out new fillings and frostings but either don't want to spend too much money or time on the actual cake part
  • when people come over and you have cake, they are very happy
  • it's all about the sprinkles and toppings, especially when those toppings are candied bacon pieces
  • piping icing on a cake is not really that hard, just time consuming. Definitely worth it for fancier cakes though 

I think if I had to pick my favourite cake it would probably be the Toasted Coconut Cream which I found in the Orange is the New Black cookbook. My mouth waters just looking at it! 

Stay tuned for my next 20 project!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Living Room & Entrance (AFTER)

It's starting to feel like home around here! Awhile back I posted the before photos of our house but sadly forgot to take photos of the living room before we moved in. All you really need to know is that entire place was painted a dark dusty rose colour *shudder*. The blasted colour took 4 coats of white paint to cover too! Anyway, here are some photos of what it looks like now!

If I had to say what "style" we went for I guess it would be clean, simple, old + new. I really love the look of white, wood, and plants so there's a lot of those things too. One of my favourite things about decorating a new space is creating and finding the art. For the main wall I used a Vermeer print my friend bought me in Paris, a vintage cross-stitch (thrifted for $6!), a framed vintage valentine that belonged to Dave's grandmother, and a retro safety pamphlet (it reads: a clean house prevents fire!)

The black and gold couch was my Oma's for 40 years and she happily passed it on to us. A great thing about furniture from my Oma is that she covers everything in arm rest covers and blankets, so the couch looks brand new! 

We found our 1940's coffee table at a very strange warehouse for $30. I plan to finish the top still, but for now we're just using it as it is. As for the window, we removed the heavy drapes and added some dark grey panel curtains ($30 at Ikea) and strung up my favourite globe twinkle lights. It looks so much cozier than an overhead light at night. 

The buffet unit we scored from Dave's parents who were getting rid of it. I think they bought it before they got married. My hope chest was sitting at my parents house until we had room for it and I'm so happy to have a space for it at home now! It was my dad's grandmothers (I think) and he restored it for my 19th birthday. Above it I hang the key so I never have to worry about losing it.

I love having a kid, but I don't like having said kid's toys take over the entire house. That being said I like having a small area in the living room for Iris' toys and things.

This is my favourite little corner of the room! The chairs our old neighbours gave us when we bought our house. The little side table was another find from the warehouse store that we just cleaned up a bit. We keep a few Iris books in there that she can pull out. The shelf is actually just 2 of those dinky pine shelves from Ikea glued together and then stained, but it turned out so great! The vintage paint by number was from my grandparent's house which funnily enough is the most commented on thing in the whole room. The cigar box was from Dave's grandmother's house, and the wine bottle/candle holder was from when we got engaged. For candle holders, I just thrifted a whole bunch of old glasses and dishes. The fox pillow was handmade by my English pen pal, Frankie (she's very talented). 

I've always wanted a mudroom with a bench but alas that ain't happening in this place so instead I hung up our homemade hooks and sign. On the opposite wall I have the thrifted mirror (I just painted it white), some more safety pamphlets (I thrifted a bag of them for $1!), a family portrait I painted a while back, and a letter N block (painted black).

I feel like things are starting to come together! I always thought furnishing a new house would cost so much money but we actually only spent about $120 on everything, crazy right?! I love how we have so much family history built into here, whether it be the furniture or the art. Who says hand-me downs have to be lame?

I'm excited to share photos of what we've done with the rest of the house next time :)

Sunday, 19 July 2015

My Week in Photos

1. The Museum has this white room where you can stick these neon stickers anywhere you want. Anywhere!
2. The family life
3. The car used to send her into screaming hysterics and now puts her to sleep. Hurray!
4. You can put the stickers anywhere!!
5. Our good friend Des came to visit
6. Coffee stop at The Princess on our way to the park
7. We've graduated from pony tails to hair clips (!!)

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Cake # 20! (Honey Bee Cake)

Can you believe it?! I actually forgot to take photos of the very last cake of my 20 cake challenge!  What a way to end it right? Ha! Anyway this was a very simple cake I made when our friends from out of town came to visit. Since you obviously can't see what it looked like let me describe it for you: imagine if you will, a golden honey scented cake, topped with toasted sliced almonds with a honey candied glaze. It was tasty. And you serve it right out of the pan which is super easy.

I am so so proud that I finished this challenge! It makes me wonder what my next 20 something challenge should be. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 16 July 2015

"Light Painting" with Sparklers!

 Whoa! Look at this!

Is this cool or what?! I recently read a tutorial on how to do "light painting" using sparklers with your camera. So tonight after the baby went to bed, Dave and I snuck out back to try it out. It was actually really easy to do once you fiddle around with the settings on your DSLR. I can see this being a really cool activity to do when we go camping and cottaging with the fam on the beach at dusk.

I really love how you can see exactly where the sparkler went the entire time, so neat! I think next time I want to try writing something like this

If you have a DSLR camera, a tripod and some sparklers (Dollarama) you should try this out!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Local Love: The Yeti Cafe

Today I wanted to start a new feature called Local Love! I feel like we tend to spend a lot of time (not to mention money!) pining for far away places. I remember the pressure after college to live abroad and travel the world to "find myself". Which, don't get me wrong, is great if you can afford it. I traveled to London and Paris for 2 weeks in my early 20s and it was amazing. But lately I've really enjoyed the sentiment of living locally and finding the gems in your own hometown. I've definitely planted roots in the KW region and am here to stay! Which I realize may sound like a terrifying concept to some. 

Anyway let's move on to my first favourite local spot: The Yeti Cafe! I can't quite remember when I found out about this place but I do remember that I instantly wanted to move in; the atmosphere and decor were so quirky and cozy. Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, I personally love to go for their homemade lemonade and odd (but delicious!) sandwiches/wraps. I remember Dave got a wrap once and it was made out of a giant collard green leaf held together with elastics: woah. 

The place is decorated in mostly second hand items, including a rather impressive collection of decorative plates and globes. If you're near the Kitchener Market or just downtown in general I highly recommend checking it out! (And always always get the half & half hash browns and salad added to your meal!)

The Yeti Cafe
Fine Coffee, Brunch & Lunch
14 Eby Street N Kitchener

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Cake # 19 (Gingerbread with Maple Sour Cream Frosting)

 I'm not sure about you, but I've always assumed gingerbread was that hard cookie they make houses out of but apparently it's a cake too?! A really delicious and spicy cake! This would make a great cake around the holidays but who's gonna say no to cake this time of the year anyway? The frosting was a sour cream based which I thought was going to be quite strange but it really balanced out the spiciness of the cake layers. Delicious! ONE TO GO!

I used this recipe

Monday, 6 July 2015

Last Week in Photos

104. So many baskets! At Black Arrow Cycles
105. We have a mulberry tree in front of our house and it leaves the sidewalk terribly stained, but kinda pretty though.
106. Parking garage skyline 
107. Asparagus, almond, egg and brie tart
108. An awkward selfie but look at that little peeper!
109. A photoshoot with musicians and period actors
110. Lovely downtown art

Friday, 3 July 2015

June Book Report

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: I plowed through this in a day and a half, it was such a great book! I'm a big fan of the funny-lady-memoir genre (loved Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham's as well) and this one was probably the best out of all of them. It wasn't as laugh out loud funny as I expected it to be but in a good way. I loved her whole concept of time traveling and living in the moment.

The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson: This was a beautiful looking book filled with vegetarian recipes. We ate an entire weeks worth of recipes from it and were not disappointed!

How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits by Anne Berest: Oh dear, I did not like this book at all. It was pretty to look through but when I actually read it it left a rather bad taste in my mouth. The general gist of being parisian (apparently) is to smoke lots, cheat on your man and don't feel bad about it, never sacrifice anything for your children, be rude because it's chic, and wear mens shirts. Pass!

The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby: Oh my gosh, go read this book! This was by far my favourite book so far this year. I pestered Dave to read this as well and he too is now a big fan of the characters of Woefield Farm. The best part about it? It's part of a series!

Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman: Another amazing book. Remember before how I gushed about this book you just had to read? This is by that same author. It focuses on 5 siblings whose grandmother gave them blessings when they were born but turned out to be more like curses. I love his style of writing.

We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride: This one was tough to read, but in a good way. This book made me very weepy and I stayed up late into the night addicted to the story and where it was going.

What are you reading lately?

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