March 30, 2015

simple shoe storage

this was a quick weekend project that made our entrance way look a little nicer.  we don't have much of an entrance, so the space is restricted with what type of storage it can hold.  i wanted to create a spot that would be quick & easy to drop off/slip on the shoes that are worn most.  

when i found the wooden create at walmart, i thought it was perfect for that spot.  it's cute, goes with the decor of our home (thrifty & random) & has a functional purpose.

i picked the wooden crate up from walmart & stained it using two coats of varathane wood stain in dark walnut.  the stain was actually purchased for some shelves we have up, so it was the perfect way to test it out & see how the colour turned out (i think it looks great - what do you think of the colour?).

the create is a bit thinner then the counter, leaving enough room for rain boots to be tucked beside it.  

finally, proper spot for shoes that makes the entrance way look nice! how do you guys tackle storage for everyday items like this? i'd love to hear suggestions.  

March 27, 2015

enginneering print

ever since i was a kid i loved to fill my walls with pictures.  pictures of friends, family, pets, sights...everything! when we bought this place, i knew i wanted to carry on this tradition.  i want the art in our house to hold special meanings. something that would make you smile when you look at it.  
an engineering print (also called architectural print, blueprint, or over-sized print) is a large scale version of a printed picture.  they are printed in black & white onto normal white paper.  a perfect example that meaningful beautiful art does not need to cost a fortune.

to print your own engineering print you need: an image to print, a usb stick to bring the image to the store on (some online stores let you upload the image), & a frame to put your picture in or tape to hang it up with.

i printed our picture at [staples], in the 24 x 36 inch size.

i picked a shot from a trip we did out east a few years ago.  the east coast holds a special place in my heart because i spent many weeks of my childhood summers driving out with my family to visit my grandfather & some cousins.  this trip was really special for me because it was b's first time to the east coast.   

a few tips:
- pick an image with very high resolution.  the lower the resolution, the more fuzzy the image will appear when it gets blown up.
- try converting your image into b&w before you print so that you can get a sense of what it will look like.  not all colour pictures turn out as well in b&w.
- play around with sizing. see what your space will allow.
- the beauty of these prints is that they are printed on regular paper, so they don't have to be hung in a frame. try using some colourful washi tape to add a little pop of colour to the print.

there you go, simple affordable and personalized art.

March 24, 2015

niagara tour

this past weekend we were invited to join some friends on a wine & spirits tour in niagara.  sometimes i forget how fortunate we are living so close to such a beautiful region of ontario.  the area some stunning scenery, with adorable little towns (niagara-on-the-lake, i'm looking at you), an unbeatable view of the escarpment and lake ontario, & some pretty darn amazing wineries, breweries and distilleries.

not only was it really great to see these friends (it had been far too long), it was a lot of fun to learn about wine and spirit making from some of the region's best.

lunch & samples at the [merchant ale house]

learning about whiskey making at [forty creek].

our final stop, sampling some delicious wines & admiring the beautiful view at [flat rock cellars]

we also stopped at [vieni estates] (they have amazing champagne) & made a stop in at [oast house brewers] on the way home.

day trips like this remind me that spring is right around the corner. i cannot wait to go back & explore the area in the warmer weather!

March 23, 2015

whiskey sour

this is one of my favourite drinks.  it's fresh, sour, sweet, & wonderful.  

to make one drink, you need: whiskey, sour mix (a mix of lemons & limes, sugar and water), sparkling water (i love the lime flavour in this drink), ice, & garnish (lemon/lime wedges or maraschino cherries work well).

first, start by making a batch of sour mix.  i like to half the size when it's just b & i, which requires about 3-4 lemons and a few limes.  

once the sour mix has cooled, add ice to a glass.  add 1 shot of whiskey and 2-3 shots of sour mix, depending on how sour you like your drinks.  top with sparkling water & stir.  garnish with some maraschino cherries, or a lemon or lime slice. 


March 22, 2015


the sun is shining, the weather isn't too cold. it's officially spring!

[donuts] delicious sunday afternoon treats from glory hole.

[gold spray paint]  20 ways to update everything using gold spray paint...thank you apartment therapy, you can never have too much gold!

[#girlboss] discovering fun, quirky & inspiring books.

[stitch] coming home to this adorable guy.

[antique shopping] resisting the urge to buy all all this pyrex.

hope you had a wonderful week too!

March 20, 2015

tangier [morocco]

i have been doing some serious travel day dreaming lately.  i helped a friend plan a trip to europe a few weeks ago and the idea of packing my bags & heading out for a new adventure just wont go away.   

a few years ago b & i got to spend a few wonderful days in the small port town of tangier in morocco.  ever since, i've been itching to go back and explore the country some more. it was such an amazing experience.  back in the 20s the town had international status, which made it a sought after destination for many europeans and americans. even today, you can still sense the combination of these two cultures.
here are a few photos from my time there:

Photos: the old port and beach / afternoon snack of mint tea and biscuits / view of the city / moroccan mint tea / wall of thread at a cafe / entrance to the grand socco (market) / fountain / inside the grand socco / wall of the kasba / sun setting over the city /  kasba overlooking the mediterranean

March 16, 2015

homemade gin

have you guys ever made your own alcohol?

this christmas my bother gave us this really neat gift - a homemade gin making kit.  and to my surprise, it was really easy to make!

the kit comes with instructions, all the tools you need, and the herbs.  all you need to pick up is 750 ml of vodka.

like i said, it was really easy.  basically, you pour the juniper berries in vodka, shake & store; in 24 hours add the botanicals into the vodka-berry jar, shake & store. 12 hours later, strain the liquid into the cute glass bottles, removing the herbs.  voila, homemade gin!
they even have some recipes to make using your gin.  i made the southside, which was amazing.  i followed their directions & topped up the glass with fizzy water (like perrier) or tonic water. yum!

March 12, 2015

personalized cat toys

this is maggie. she is about to turn two.  as an early birthday gift i made her some personalized toys in some the shapes of some of her favourite things. 

she was curious about them every step of the way.  even the older one (stitch) took the shoe and started to play.  

i share how i made them over at home james.

needless to say, i think they were a hit!  

March 10, 2015

indiana jones movie marathon

this is one of the things for 2015 that i was looking forward to.  as a kid i loved these movies. and when b mentioned that he hadn't seen them before, well that just would not do!

some friends (who had also not seen the movies) came over this last family day, and we watched all 3 (the original 3 from the 80s).

such a perfect way to spend the holiday. and, honestly, they were as good as i remember them!

March 08, 2015


happy sunday, everyone!  here are a few little things that made me smile this week.

[tulips] to remind me spring is coming, even if the long term forcast says otherwise.

[homemade beer] b's beer was finally ready to drink (&, of course, it's wonderful).

[sugar cookies] putting my new, adorable cookie cutters to the test.

[doors] a trip to the reuse store re-inspired me to change up the doors in our place.

[this view] i recently switched jobs, which is super scary.  but, i get to look out over the city everyday, which isn't so bad.

what little things made you smile this week?