breville all in one...I think its purring

Meeting other bloggers is always fun, meeting them for a great cooking demo followed by delicious morning tea is even better.  This is exactly what Appliances Online organised last Monday when they hosted a morning tea for bloggers with a fabulous cooking demo by the lovely ladies of the Monday Morning Cooking Club (MMCC).  I met some lively bloggers like Caro of Caro & Co, had an eye opening discussion with a blogger who has been a dominatrix (I am not telling who, those who were there will have to guess), ate more chiffon cake than was strictly good for me, and generally had a very good time indeed.  

The ladies from the MMCC put on a fabulous spread with no less than three different chiffon cakes (the orange wins for me), salmon and bagels and other freshly baked goodies from the Appliances Online kitchen.  I will tell you more of the MMCC story another day, community memory and story gathering through food, fascinating and moving.  I would love to cook with them myself some time.

During the demo the MMCC used the Breville All In One.  I was impressed.  The double bladed mixer easily ground fresh almonds into almond meal and made several beautiful looking doughs.  I have an elderly Magi Mix given to me by my granny when I left home.  It is showing it's age (unlike me I hope), it works perfectly but the plastic has become brittle and is cracking in less and less avoidable places.  I also have a drawer full of mandolin and stick mixer bits that I can never find quickly enough.  This gadget made me take notice, it obviously worked well in the demo, does everything my Magi Mix, mandolin and stick mixer can, and afterwards it stacked neatly into the storage stand.  Impressive.  So imagine my delight when we were presented with a All In One to test in our own kitchens, with a copy of the MMCC book to give us inspiration.  If only all Mondays were more like this.

I raced home and spent a happy afternoon musing over recipes and mixer attachments, I had to test it that very day.  Now I know you are expecting some gourmand recipe, but really what I made was mashed potatoes.  I wanted to test the mashing attachment, something I hadn't seen before, and (drum roll) result was mashed potatoes in minutes.  Yummy, creamy, easy!  Next I am planning pesto, I have a giant basil bush in the garden.  Or I might make my granny's pecan nut biscuits, very similar to the kifli the MMCC made for us, I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you again to Appliances Online, they are a great resource for the time poor who know what they want and just want it delivered to their door.
And a reminder to my readers that all opinions are truly my own.  I love testing products but rest assured feed back will always be genuine.

No turning back now....

Bathroom demo day one is done - There is no turning back now. :)

*Huge thanks to my awesome brother (who is elegantly posing in our old bathtub on our lawn) for the manual labour help! :)

DIY ribbon magnets

I was inspired by this project to DIY some magnets of my own. I painted our fridge with chalkboard paint last October (a good wash, light sanding - no priming - and it's held up great, for anyone who's interested) and I wanted to dress up the side that faces the entry. Now, when we come home we're greeted with photos from past vacations and other fun memories.

So far all the photos are prints I already had, but I want to add some more recent photos of Hannah and last summer's road trip. I'm looking for an easy, affordable way to print Instagram photos (from more than one account). Any ideas?

The magnets were so quick and easy to make. My mom gave me a bunch of truly beautiful ribbon in my stocking this year (I'm a 30 year-old woman who still gets a Christmas stocking stuffed full of goodies from her mom - don't judge) and this seemed like a fun way to use it.

I found rolls of magnetic tape at the dollar store (in the craft aisle). One side is coated in adhesive, so all I had to do was cut the roll into pieces with my rotary cutter (another stocking stuffer) and stick the ribbon to the adhesive side. The ribbon was too narrow for the magnet, so I used my rotary cutter to trim the excess. I also used a little Fray Check glue to keep the ends from fraying.

I'm not confident that the adhesive will hold over time, so I'm planning to brush each magnet with a little Modge Podge to protect the ribbon and ensure it stays stuck. Of course, you could make this project even easier by using washi tape instead of ribbon.

Another shot of the view into the kitchen from the entry now. I'm on the hunt for some cute magnetic letters and numbers in the hopes that they'll distract Hannah from trying to eat my ribbon magnets. She hasn't noticed them yet, but it's only a matter of time!

vignette my bedroom

My favourite thing in our bedroom is our cow hide headboard.  I bought it as a rug but it was far to small so it has ended up on the headboard.  I was a little worried it would be scratchy to lean on but it isn't.  Its still a work in progress, I want to finish it with a nail head trim, and I need a better solution for the edges, but I haven't quite figured out how to do it.
The little horse has migrated from the spare room to the bedroom, he does roam around the house but has to be kept away from Miss J's curious fingers. 

In this room I am aiming for a collection of textures in neutral shades and tones - soothing but not boring.  The linen curtains are every bit as lovely as I hoped, elegant, light and classic, but still polished.  The rest is a bit of a collectors hodge podge: bedside tables off ebay, lamp bases posted back from a Cape Town holiday, art bought online from KwaZulu Natal, aloes from the neighbourhood.

One day we will get or make a new bed, but its far far down the need to have list.  I also would like a console table for the far wall that I can put a pair of mirrors above, but sadly those too are far down my list.

The photo above was taken by the lovely Maite Robin for Prebuilt.  Our lovely home is fabulous prefab, preFAB to those who know it, and the builders, Prebuilt, asked if they could take some photos.  Enter Maite who took some amazing images which I will share with you in the next few weeks.  I want to pair her work with more intimate images of my own to give you a real sense of our home. 

All other photo's by Eva of BuildHouseHome

doing not the school holidays

This is some of what we have been getting up to this school holidays, inspiration and our 
versions.  Its been a lot of fun, I love having Miss E around more.

I have been wanting to make my own mugs for ages, ever since I saw the diy done by Amanda at Whistle & Whit.  I also did my own version of the Sarjaton mug, particularly pleased with this version.  My porcelain mugs cost $4.50 from Target and the Pebeo porcelain paint was $7 a tube off ebay.  The sarjaton mug in the right hand circle is $22 before delivery - good result all around.

Make your own snake finger puppets with the template from Mr Printables.

In other news the Ikea hack is progressing, the cupboards are in but we are battling with how to do the connecting shelves.  Still have to get the shoe shelves from Ikea, they are frustratingly out of stock.  So far I have done one trip to Ikea and two to the hardware store.  Trips to the store are never shown in diy tutorials.
I have also cut most of the fabric for my day bed cushion covers.  And of course we are well into rainbow birthday preparations.  So its busy busy busy at our house right now.  
I will keep you posted on the progress when life slows down so pop back soon.

I hate our grass - landscaping plans

I've been staring at our front lawn coming up with landscaping plans. I apparently can't focus on one project, I need to take on a few to drive myself (and Aubrey) crazy.

Our front yard is significantly better than when we first bought the house thanks to the amazing landscaping design of Bill Chandler (who I think is one of Toronto's top landscape designers) I met him because he worked on my parents back garden and he helped us with our front walkway both with designing and installation. Although Bill came up with a gorgeous planting plan in addition to the stairs and walkway, we only did the stone work because budget. You can see the evolution of the front of our house here.

Read more »

Photo inspiration + weekend links

source: House & Home

I've got backyards on the brain and this one has me crushing hard. I much prefer outdoor spaces designed with the intention of actually enjoying the outdoors, and this is one for sure. Cozy, relaxed, lush and stylish, with just a touch of wildness. Inspiring, indeed.

Adam and I are headed out on a date tonight! We're going to see one of our favourite bands and I couldn't be more excited. Happy weekend, all!

Here are your links:

-Wild squirrels posing with miniature props. You need to look at these photos.
-Striking images of America's most segregated cities.
-I much prefer the 'what NOT to give' Mother's Day guides.
-Speaking of gifts, how cool is this idea?
-A spring-inspired mason jar DIY (it's practical, too!)

Help me choose a makeover for this darling side table

I found this side table at Value Village yesterday for $7.99 (I went back for a table that, sadly, someone else had smartly snapped up, but this was a great consolation prize). The legs are wood, but the top looks and feels like MDF, so it needs to be painted. The plan is to use it outdoors, on our future patio. I can't decide what direction to take it in, so I've narrowed it down to a few options and I'm hoping you can help me choose.

Option 1


I love how my dipped chair turned out, so it could be fun to try something similar with this table. I like West Elm's crisp white version, but I could also go for a glossy green or a warm pink.

Option 2



Speaking of colour, this could be the perfect excuse to finally try the neon trend. Oh, and I'll take a pair of those chairs, thankyouverymuch.

Option 3




I swear I didn't purposely correspond the number of images to the option number, by the way. A good friend gave me a book on stencilling for my birthday and it has me feeling inspired to try something a little different. I'm especially digging the triangles in the first and third images.

So, there you have it. Which option gets your vote?

Printing on Kraft Bags

I came across this post on Cottage Hill where printed on some Kraft Bags. I fell head over heels in love for the Elephant bag that she made. I thought I would recreate the project using the free image that she had used as a potential loot bag for Oscar's own birthday party but I also wanted to photograph it to show as an example for others as how they can get creative with the bags.

It was so addictive to print these bags that I printed up some other bags using stamp designs I've made for customers to show how a stamp (or clipart) would work. Anyhow, this post is nothing more than to show you some shots I took today - Hopefully it may inspire you for some loot bag projects or just fun lunch bags. Cheers to Cottage Hill for the grand idea and to The Graphics Fairy for the free images for personal projects.

Kraft bags available here

*Ps., My shop is closed for the next two weeks because of the upcoming bathroom reno. Eeek!

Floral inspiration

Seriously, what happened to spring? It's almost May and we're still wearing our winter coats and gloves. Nothing says spring like florals, so I've rounded up a few of my favourites. Clothes and accessories are a low-commitment way to embrace the floral trend. I like pairing them with solids or a classic print, like a stripe, to keep things from feeling too busy. Are you a fan of florals? How do you use them?

1. Scarf
2. Plate
3. Pillow
4. Shorts
5. Watch
6. Wallet
7. Bedding
8. Tee
9. Ballet flats

etsy finds

I still love to shop on Etsy even though it has grown so huge that it sometimes is pretty daunting to find the cool little shops. I often browse people's favourites to find neat new items, so I always love doing posts like this. So anyhow, here are some of the newest items I've added to my favourites lately.

Top Row / Necklaces / Bowls / Vintage Pull Toy / Middle Row / Octopus Coat Rack / Mouse  / Gold Ring / Bottom Row / Lionel Ritchie Milk Container / Green Tartan Pillow

Ok - so HOW CUTE is that little mouse? And that Lionel Ritchie Milk container!? It appears to have sold since I favoured it but maybe more will be added.

Join Me For Coffee? {A New Sign}

Why have they not made an authentic smelling coffee candle?
The kind that fills not only your nose but your whole head with that aroma that makes you want to crunch right into the whole coffee bean.
The aroma that makes non coffee drinkers wish they were coffee drinkers.
How hard can it be you candle makers?

I am a coffee lover.
Not a connoisseur mind you.
Just a lover of coffee.
I like coffee you can chew.
I said chew.

I will admit that I drink a latte every morning.
I'm not ashamed.
You can chew espresso too.

Unfortunately this slice of coffee went off to new lands.
I sold it to my brother-in-law in Virginia.
It will be for sale at his store there.

Bottoms up you coffee fans.
Chew that coffee down!

(and somebody get busy on that candle)

Guest post: Mira Showers

Adam is re-caulking our tub for the millionth time, so a guest post about updating your shower seems appropriate. Please welcome Ayeisha from Mira Showers.

There's nothing better than coming home after a long day and standing under a hot shower, letting the day wash away. It's even better if you're showering in a beautiful, up-to-date bathroom. Breathing new life into your bathroom doesn't have to mean a complete reno; there are plenty of simple updates you can make to keep your bathroom looking great.


If your budget for updates is small, consider bringing in new shower accessories. Mira Showers has a huge range of the latest shower accessories, including eco-friendly showerheads. These showerheads can save up to 85% of water, so you can reduce your carbon footprint and still have a great, refreshing shower.


If you have a bit more money to invest, a shower tray is the perfect addition to anyone's bathroom. They come in a range of sizes and they also include BioCote, which helps reduce bacteria and mould growth, so you'll know your bathroom is as fresh and clean as it can be.

If you really want to transform your bathroom, consider replacing your shower altogether. A sleek mixer shower will give your bathroom a chic and modern look, with a perfect showering experience for you. Or, for an amazing shower every time you jump in, try a brand new electric shower.


Just like everything else, bathrooms and showers go in and out of style. Upgrading their look good can be done on any budget and your investment will raise the re-sale value of your home, too.

Thanks Ayeisha! Adam and I replaced our showerhead when we moved into our house and it made a big difference - it saves a ton of water and showering is much more relaxing!

Losing It...

I have this THING about losing THINGS. I don't know where it comes from, really. Well, I guess I kind of do but we'll talk more about that later.
For now, let's talk about today.

While I was preparing to get dinner ready for my family, I realized I'd misplaced my phone. As you know, like most of us, cell phones these days are pretty near and dear to us. They store, well...our lives.

Also, as many of us experience from time to time, I felt as though my heart would nearly pound right out of my chest as I thought about the possibility of never finding it. Now, honestly, in it really the end of the world if I never find it again? No.
But, my mind tends to race and take over in times like these...similar to a train wreck in the mind.

Today actually seemed to be filled with "moments of loss", as I've so affectionately named them. They are those times when you experience temporary insanity as a result of some random misplaced item or belonging.

This morning when I logged on to my computer to take care of some things online, I realized that I couldn't log into an account that I have had for years. I have never needed to access this account with my password since I always login from the same computer and asked it to save my info. Well, I cleared out all of the cookies, browsing history, etc. on my laptop a few weeks back and for the first time, I needed to log in.

I literally almost had an anxiety attack after one failed attempt followed another. The account was linked to an old email address that I no longer have access to which meant that I couldn't even have the username or password reset. At that point, I'd lost it on the inside.

I finally realized that my frustration, anxiety, worry was all founded and based on something completely opposite of the truth. A lie.

I don't know if you ever deal with this, but for this post {and well, I guess like most of my others}...I'm keeping it real.

I know it may seem a bit crazy, but sometimes the most simple of situations turn into dramatic meltdowns for me-internally. I've learned to do that as an adult. No one can see my meltdowns. That keeps me safe. That keeps me REAL.

As I talked myself down, I began to hear the Holy Spirit ask me, "Is losing really such a bad thing?" "What happens when you lose?" came. The Word.

He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 10:39

Now, I know that this scripture isn't talking about losing passwords to online accounts or misplaced phones. I do believe, however, that God can and will use our everyday situations and life to bring about healing and change, even if it's through a lost password, keys, cell name it.

I realized this totally pushed a core fear button for me. It really came down to the fact that when I lose, I sense a LOSS of control. This, unfortunately, is yet another lie. Truth is, I'm not really in control anyhow. I mean, sure...I decide when I put my shoes on, take them off, brush my teeth, drive my car...but I gave up control of my life years ago. On purpose. To Him. And that's just the way I like it.

I want Him...Jesus, all up in MY STUFF. ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS. Controlling things...and losing my life along the way to gain the ultimate destiny, purpose, and future He has planned for me and for my family.

So, what's the lie that got trampled by truth today? That "losing it" is a bad see, when you lose for really win.

Be a loser.

Getting lost and truly winning,

A Simple Salad Recipe

I thought I would share an awesome salad recipe with you this week! This salad is quick, fresh and perfect for spring/summer get-togethers, outings or just for a quick addition-or stand alone-to any meal at home.


Simple Quinoa Spinach Salad
1 Bag of spinach
2c cooked, tri-colored quinoa
Small heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/3c Toasted pine nuts
1/4 c Feta cheese
4 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
How to make it rock:
Cook quinoa according to package, place in fridge to chill if you have time. (Separates in the salad a lot better and makes for a better presentation overall.)
In a large bowl or on a large platter, spread out spinach in no specific pattern or order. (Fun to just throw it on the plate, a little liberating for me.) After quinoa has cooled, spread it over the spinach. Next, spread the cut tomatoes over the quinoa. Essentially, what you are doing is creating loose layers. After you've laid out all the tomatoes, spread the pine nuts and feta cheese over them. Depending on what your personal taste is, you can go as heavy or as light with these two ingredients as you'd like.
I LOVE pine nuts and feta, so I went heavy!
Take your balsamic vinegar and olive oil, alternating the two, and work from one end of your platter to the other. You will want to sprinkle generously ensuring you cover your tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar. Trust me, you'll thank me for that little tid bit later.
This salad can be served chilled or at room temperature. Allow oils and vinegar to settle before serving.


New art in the entry

It's kind of funny that I'm adding art before major elements like, say, flooring, but that's how it goes sometimes. When we added the Ikea bench to the entry (which I love and would highly recommend, by the way), the wall above it suddenly looked naked. Luckily, my mom had just gifted me two gorgeous prints.

They're actually greeting cards, each with a print of a watercolour by Vermont artist Annelein Beukenkamp (you can view more of her beautiful work on her website). On Sunday, Adam stayed home with Hannah so I could make a solo trip to Value Village (it's the little things) to look for a couple of frames. I found a pair of frames...along with a bunch of uber cute baby clothes, a few toys and the cutest tea cup I'd ever laid eyes on (this may be why I don't make solo trips to VV often).

As occasionally happens after a VV trip, on the drive home I started worrying that the frames weren't going to work. Should I paint one? Both? What colour? I started browsing through Lonny's photo archives for inspiration, when I saw this and remembered that I had some leftover black matting board. Isn't it funny how inspiration strikes? It turns out I had just enough matting board to fit both frames, so I did some measuring and broke out my mat cutter. I also gave the frames a good scrubbing.

Please excuse the reflection of me awkwardly learning back in my pjs. A photographer, I am not.

The black mats completely transform the look of the frames, I think. That tiny line of gold with the black is what really makes this work for me. So glad I didn't paint them.

Did I mention that the frames were $3.99 each and I think my mom paid $3.50 for each of the cards/art? I only wish I knew how to take a better picture of frames with glass - they're so lovely in person.

the shower system saga ....

The shower system -  I had been putting off this decision for awhile as I wasn't confident on the style of shower system (modern or traditional) and I also wasn't clear on what I needed to look for. I'm not sure why it was such a scary purchase, but I was really delaying this decision. With the washroom reno starting next week, I got a gentle push to make a decision from Aubrey who kindly reminded me that he needed to have the shower system on hand to be able to start the reno. Ooops.

I ended up going with my Mom to TAPS to talk to Daniel who is my go-to-guy for questions about choices like this. When I went to the store I had come to the conclusion that I really wanted a traditional shower system, much like this and immediately after walking into the shop I saw the top two shower heads and fell in love. Daniel at TAPS (who I had help me with the kitchen renovation choices) first asked me if it was just a shower, or, a shower/tub combo. Apparently it does make a difference. Cue the record screeching to a halt.

You see, since we have a shower/tub combo he explained that the systems I was falling in love with weren't compatible with a shower/bathtub combo...You can't just add on a bathtub filler, when you have the Rainhead and a handheld. You need a system that has a 3 way diverter.* Ok, I'm getting confused even trying to re-create the conversation because all I heard was "You can't have that". Heart. Broken. Does any of that make sense? Basically I thought you could just add on a tub filler to any system out there. Apparently that's not how it works.

So going back to the drawing board I really liked the idea of the rainhead and a handheld (the handheld was a non-negotiable for me) and Daniel showed me a kit that was on special that had the rainhead, the handheld AND was made for the bathtub too. It took me awhile to come to the realization that the top two traditional designs were not going to be possible and ended up going for the kit. I know it will look substantial when installed in the new washroom so I think I'll get the look I wanted, even if it's not super traditional.

Oh, and I picked that super beautiful faucet too. Again, I was pretty in love with a lot of traditional faucets but they all were for three hole vanities and, well, the vanity we picked has one hole. Bah. Foiled again.

Check that off my list.

TAPS Bath Centre in Toronto, my go to guy is Daniel Scheffel  He's helped me in every purchase and also was the go to guy for my Mom's renovation.

*I think I also understood that it may be possible to make some systems a 3 way but it would have cost a LOT of money and potentially a lot more work. 

Total Pageviews

Blog Archive

Popular Posts