Thursday, April 17, 2014

Silhouette Cards

I finally caved (and blew the budget) and bought a Silhouette Cameo.
I've been using a friend's old one, but it was starting to stall on me, and I wanted to be able to make larger pieces, so I justified it as a belated birthday gift.

Since Maddie needed some thank you cards for her birthday gifts of last week, I thought I'd create them with the Silhouette so I could play a little.
These are small 5x5's and the colour strip was just some scrap paper I had laying around…. I think they turned out pretty cute.

I always love seeing sets of cards - it has more impact than seeing one at a time - when you can see the colour assortment altogether.

There were a few other images I wanted to try cutting, so I puttered a little bit and made these:


I'm not sure about the lilac and apricot, but I think the daisy image done in white with a yellow background would be pretty… maybe as a teacher appreciation gift?

So my job of making the cards is done - now I just have to battle with my 8 year old and get her to write out her notes of thanks.

Wish me luck!


  









Have a great one!
  
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

If you've read this blog for any length of time you'll know that I love organizing events that will create memories for my girls.

We have the Great Pumpkin Haunt Walk at Hallowe'en, our neighbourhood Canada Day celebration, Rib Fest (still to come) and the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

All of these events are pot luck and bring your own, so all I have to do is initiate it by setting a date and then sending out invitations.

This is this year's invite:

Usually the Dad's head out beforehand - while the Mom's get the kids ready/distracted - and hide the eggs all over a designated area.
At 9:30 we all head to the starting line and let the kids loose - each child is allowed to find the number of eggs that their parents have contributed.

Everyone wanders around watching the kids, chatting to friends and enjoying a hot cup of something.

For the older kids - maybe 6 and up - we include a scavenger hunt as well;
Free printable here

This year's hunt was designed by Amazing Amy and she's even provided a free printable that you can use if you want to set up your own hunt!  (Thank you so much Amy!)

Once the kids have found all of the items on the scavenger hunt, the parents will send them to a secret location to get their "treat"…. usually a chocolate bunny hidden at their own back door.

It doesn't get any easier to create community than organizing an event like this.

Give it a shot - but be prepared - once you've started it, it will become a tradition.





  





Have a great one!
  
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Before & After - Blue Dresser

This was another piece from my Grandmother's house.
As soon as I saw it I was pumped!

Obviously it wasn't looks that had me excited; but the piece is wood, you don't see dressers on tall legs much anymore and I had nothing to lose if I screwed up.

This is the ideal piece of furniture if you want to try out refinishing.

Worst case scenario, it would be the prettiest potting bench around!

I'm pretty sure this lived in a dark corner of her basement.  It certainly wasn't a piece she had out for company, and I'm guessing it had something heavy sitting on top based on the fact that someone attempted to paint around it.

There were a few coats of paint on this one, so I did need to strip;

and a rubdown (with sandpaper);



but once it was naked wood again, you could see the beauty.  All the scars in the wood are perfect -  it creates the gorgeous patina.  
(okay, enough innuendoes)

I wanted to try something different with this piece, so I decided to stain and paint it…

Just leftover paint and stain from other projects, but they really do look sharp together don't they?
And check out these knobs I found at Home Depot for $0.99 each!

You've got to appreciate a cheap and yet cute knob!
(last one, I promise)

It's really a striking piece now.


I'm so pleased with how this turned out, and better yet, my Grandmother had two of these (both in equally rough condition), so I get to play again on the second one!





By the way - if you like these "Before & Afters" and you want to see more - click the link at the side of the blog that says "Before & After" - I think there are almost 40 different pieces you can check out!









 Have a great one!
  
 




Linked to:
Between Naps on the Porch

Monday, April 14, 2014

Before & After - Round pedestal table

We had an AMAZING weekend here in SW Ontario!

Sunny, warm - absolutely GLORIOUS - and I actually had a chance to get out to the garage and do a little refinishing.

It's a goofy hobby, I know, but I find it therapeutic;
nothing to think or worry about except the project in front of you, the feel of sanding something baby-bum-smooth, and then the gratification of a before and after.

Plus, you're outside all day enjoying the fresh air while the kids ride bikes or what have you.

Today I'm only going to show a little project, because I was working on two things at the same time and the bigger one isn't quite finished yet.

This was a small side table that resided at my Grandmother's house.


I'll be honest, I've been wish-listing a lot of round side tables lately, so this was a project I wanted to work on right away.

I painted this one, so I didn't need to do a deep sanding on it - just enough to get out any scratches and to rough up the surface a bit.

While I was sanding it, I noticed some little initials carved into the underside of the table…  "JK"

I guess this little table was a high school woodshop project that my Uncle did, and that my Grandmother kept all these years!

Well, I'd like to keep it too, and since I'd already sanded it, I had to move forward with the paint;



Pretty good lathe-work Jim!

It's still in the garage drying right now, or I'd show a 'staged shot' of it with a book and cup of tea on it.




Not bad for a half hour's work.










 Have a great one!
  
 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Have I mentioned that I have a sweet tooth?

Sweet teeth?

Sugar coursing through my veins.

In case you hadn't noticed - this is not a blog for those with willpower.

This is a blog for those that want to try new things and enjoy every scrumptious, calorie-ridden morsel!

Viva - elastic waistbands!

I was surfing Pinterest and I found a delicious-looking chocolate cake.
It just so happened it was a chocolate cake kind of day (like most days), so I gave it a whirl.

Let me tell you - the author does not lie - I don't think I have ever had a more delicious, rich, decadent, scrumptious piece of cake EVER.

Truly.

EV-ER


The original recipe is from "Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet" and you can find it here.

I've made a couple of minor alterations below;


You will need:


  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar  (this ingredient threw me, but trust me this cake is spectacular!)



Directions:


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
  • Line two 9" pans with parchment paper (or two cupcake pans with liners)
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa), then set aside.



  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients



  • Add dry ingredients to the wet and stir until smooth
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans  (I needed cupcakes to take to school for Madison's birthday)



  • Bake:   two 9" pans for 25 - 30 minutes, or cupcakes ~20 minutes  (or until a knife dipped into the centre comes out clean)
  • Cool completely before frosting



For the icing

You will need:


  • 5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chipits (or chocolate bars if you like)
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar




Directions:


  • In a double-boiler melt the butter



  • Add the chocolate as soon as the butter is melted and stir often until the chocolate is melted
  • Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature
  • Add corn syrup and vanilla to the chocolate mixture.  Mix in well
  • Mix in the sour cream
  • Sift in 1 cup of icing sugar at a time and mix well
  • Add 1tbsp heavy cream (or milk) if the frosting seems too stiff
  • Frost



  • Eat!
















  
Have a great one!
  
 




Linked to:
Between Naps on the Porch

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Home Tour - Dining Room

And the winners of the Easter Eggstravaganza Curiosity boxes are:
Thank you to everyone that participated, and a special thank you to Cassie over at Curiosity Box for this awesome giveaway!
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I'm sick.

Not deathly ill, just some stomach bug - but it's left me incapable of being more than 10 feet away from the "big white phone".

All I could manage today was a few photos, so I thought I'd continue on with the house tour.

Today, my dining room;

Now that I think about it - the only 'new' piece of furniture in the room is the table itself.  It was my birthday gift last year - the Ronan from Pier 1.

I liked it because it's a round pedestal, so no one gets a table leg between theirs, and it extends to be large enough to fit 8.

We were fortunate enough to build our house, so we were able to choose whether we wanted the dining room completely open to the main floor, or closed off.   We decided to take a middle road and have partial walls to delineate the space, but with large doorways and transoms so it still feels open and airy.
Only problem… you do see the shoes in the hallway.  (Sorry about that)



Did you notice the tiny little hole in the wall by the stairs?
Hubby cut that in for me.  
When the girls were little I wanted to close off the staircases to keep them from falling down them, but the cats still needed to be able to get to their litter boxes in the basement.
Great solution eh?  He even trimmed it out so it's not an eyesore.
We still keep the gate up so that Lacey doesn't sneak downstairs for a cat food snack.



The cabinet in the corner was my Grandmother's.  I'm on the fence about painting it to match the rest of the furniture?
Inside, it still houses her tea cup collection and a few other treasures.

There's an angled wall in the corner of the dining room that isn't big enough to do much with, so when my Mom decided to get rid of her serving cart I had to snatch it up for a small bar station.  (plus it camouflages the cold air return)

The flowers were for Maddie's birthday.
(She's only 8, but Mommy needed an excuse to have a spring arrangement in the house, so I played the birthday angle.)

The cabinet below is actually made up of two pieces that didn't go together at all.
The top hutch I bought at a garage sale for $25.
It was brown at one point and had all kinds of scuffs and stains on it.
A coat of black and a little tlc and you'd never know that they weren't a set.



The giant pear on display is a running joke between Hubby and I;  I loved it as soon as I saw it. When I asked the salesperson if they had anymore in stock (before I saw the tag), she promptly went and ordered one for me.  When I found out how much I just about choked, but the pressure to "save face" was more compelling and I bought it.
I think Hubby's reaction would be accurately categorized as "going apeshit".

Having said that, I get a lot of compliments on having "a nice pear" - so it was much less expensive than plastic surgery, and almost as effective at boosting self esteem. lol











Have a great one!